Wood Ear and Carrot Salad
In periods of dry weather you’ll find dehydrated wood ears on the branches of elder trees. These can be harvested and magically rehydrated at home, or if you find them in their fully hydrated form, you can dry them yourself and rehydrate them as needed. While the flavour of wood ears is quite mild and subtle, their absorbency means they soak up other flavours brilliantly, an attribute that is used to great effect in this simple, crisp, salad. Serve alongside other Asian foods or just as a tasty, healthy snack.
- 15g dried wood ears
- 2 large carrots
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Small bunch three-cornered leek or few-flowered garlic (or 4 spring onions)
FOR THE DRESSING
- 1 teaspoon root ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon sunflower or vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- Put the dried wood ears in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to stand for 30 minutes until they expand and turn completely soft. Drain well, and press lightly between sheets of kitchen towel to blot any excess moisture. Cut away any hard stems, then slice into fine shreds.
- Put the dressing ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the shredded wood ears and mix well. Leave to stand while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Peel the carrots and grate them or shred them using a julienne peeler. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan set over a medium heat, stirring them around until they turn golden-brown, then tip them onto a plate to cool. Cut the three-cornered leeks (or few flowered garlic or spring onions) into 4cm lengths, then slice lengthways into fine shreds.
- Put the grated carrot, toasted sesame seeds and the shredded three-cornered leeks into the dressing bowl and toss well. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK