We used to have a small raised vegetable patch in our backyard. First we could grow nice tomatoes but it got too shady because the trees were getting taller. We switched to crops which do not require as much sun as tomatoes and, finally, lettuce in the spring and fall. We, then, totally gave up growing any vegetables in that area. Now, our Japanese plum tree is growing in the middle of what used to be our vegetable patch. It shares the space with a rather strange Japanese vegetable called “myga” 茗荷 which now grows under its boughs. When “myoga” is in season, I am sure I can post a few dishes using myoga. In any case, now my wife grows a small amount of lettuce in the raised herb garden in the front of the house where we still get sun. Some of the fall lettuce even over wintered the harsh winter we had this year and came back this spring. So this is one of the first lettuce crops of the season.
I dressed these mixed greens with a sort of Japanese dressing consisting of soy sauce (2 tbs), rice vinegar (2 tbs), sesame oil (1 tsp), vegetable oil (2 tbs) and mirin (1tbs). You could add grated ginger or crushed garlic. I just topped this with leftover marinated and grilled skirt steak (marinated for several hours in equal mixture of mirin and soy sauce and then grilled to medium rare and sliced in thin strips across the grain of the meat). Garnish with white roasted sesame seeds and chopped chives (from the same garden). Perfect starter salad.