Japan Eats

Recipe: Nanohana and bacon pasta

A bittersweet spring dish.

Nanohana (or rape-blossom in English) is representative of spring. Like wild vegetables such as fuki (butterbur), taranome (the buds of Japanese angelica) and udo, nanohana is a seasonal vegetable with a slight bitterness. For this reason, nanohana goes well with two of the dish’s other ingredients: butter and bacon. These add a sweetness that offsets the initial bitterness of the vegetable.

I recommend adding a little butter to the olive oil (or vegetable oil) to sauté the nanohana.

Nanohana and bacon pasta

Nanohana and bacon pasta

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 80 g of bacon (thinly sliced)
  • 140 – 150 g of rape blossom (canola)
  • 150 – 160 g spaghettini
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 dried whole chilli pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 10 g of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of spaghettini‘s broth
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce


Place a large saucepan with 2 liters of cold water on a high heat and bring it to the boil. Add 20 g of salt, then cook the spaghettini.

As soon as you start to cook the spaghettini, you should also start preparing the sauce. Cut the bacon into slices 3 – 4 cm wide. Remove 1 – 2 cm from the bottom of the nanohana‘s stem, and cut into pieces 3 – 4 cm wide. You don’t need to remove the bottom of the stems if they are fresh and still soft.

Break the dried chilli pepper into 2 – 3 pieces and remove the seeds. Place a frying pan with olive oil, butter, finely chopped garlic and dried whole chilli pepper on a low heat and sauté the mixture until it produces an aroma.

Next add the bacon and sauté for another 1 – 2 minutes on the same low – medium heat.

Add the nanohana (stems first, then the leaves) mixing and softening them quickly.

Turn the heat down to low, and add 4 tablespoons of the spagettini‘s broth, mixing well. Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, mix again and turn off the heat.

Add the spaghettini, coating the pasta with sauce. Serve.

Recipe: Grilled asparagus with yuzukosho butter

It doesn’t get any simpler than this.

Yuzukosho. As we’ve mentioned before, it can be used to add a citrus ‘zing’ to just about anything. And when it’s mixed with butter, it makes a great addition to baked dishes – potatoes, fish, and so on.

Here, we’re using yuzukosho butter to enhance a spring favorite – grilled asparagus.

Prepare the dish immediately before serving to maximize the flavor of both the yuzukosho and asparagus.

Grilled asparagus with yuzukosho butter

Grilled asparagus with yuzukosho butter


  • 8 stalks of asparagus
  • 10 g of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of yuzukosho
  • A pinch of salt


First prepare the yuzukosho butter. Remove the butter from the fridge and let it come to room temperature, then use your fingers to mix the butter with 1 teaspoon of yuzukosho.

Cut 1 or 2 centimeters from the bottom of each stalk of asparagus. Ideally, the stalks will be of equal length. Now peel the outer skin from the bottom 4 -5 centimeters of each stalk. Use half of the yuzukosho butter to coat them. Again, it’s best to do this with your fingers.

Line up the asparagus on a plate, and cover the stalks with the remaining yuzukosho butter. Sprinkle a pinch of salt.

Grill for 8 – 10 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade. Garnish with a slice of lemon (to be squeezed over the asparagus immediately before eating).