Salad Of Grilled Seasonal Veggies In Colors Across The Spectrum

Salad of grilled seasonal veggies in colors across the spectrumToyoo Tamamura knows the importance of healthy living and a good diet. In his early 40s, the essayist suffered from health problems caused by overwork and stress. He threw up blood and was also afflicted by transfusion-associated hepatitis.
While he was recuperating in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, where he had moved from Tokyo, he visited a friend’s apple orchard with his wife and was struck by the view from the farm of undulating mountains and the expanse of fields.

The idea of living in a scenic place while working on a farm dawned on him. The couple began looking for land with good views where they could build a house and create fields.

Now 71 and living in Tomi, Nagano Prefecture, since 1991, Tamamura runs Villa d’Est Gardenfarm and Winery, which consists of a farm, winery and cafe.

In his kitchen, Tamamura has a number of pairs of long chopsticks that have burned tips. This is because they are used for cooking vegetables and meat on a grill. For lunch the couple eat rice and noodles to give them enough strength to work. At night, they usually grill vegetables and meat.

Most of their fields are used for growing grapes for wine, along with a few summer vegetables such as tomatoes and zucchini. But Tamamura never runs out of vegetables even in winter as his neighbors and former apprentices bring their bounty.

This week’s salad of grilled vegetables features purple sweet potatoes, daikon radish, lotus root, “morokko ingen” (a flat type of green peas), bell pepper and eringi mushroom. Seasoned only with a bit of salt, soy sauce and olive oil, it is a salad that lets you focus on the flavor of the vegetables.

Tamamura says there are fine flavors he discovered only after becoming a producer. He learned that vegetables taste different when they are in the firstling, in-season and lingering stages. Watery tomatoes that are harvested after rainy days become tasty when sauteed.

He used to visit restaurants renowned for their delicacies.

“I no longer feel like making a point of getting special things,” he said. “This is an area of producers and everyday vegetables taste good. I learned to become satisfied with what is available here.”


Any vegetable and mushroom of the season, such as daikon radish, turnip, pumpkin, sweet potato, cauliflower, green onion, okra, eringi, shiitake mushroom and bell pepper. Amount is up to you.


Cut ingredients appropriately, place on grill on gas stove and cook. Turn occasionally and cook until surface browns.

Place grilled vegetables in a bowl, sprinkle with a bit of salt, some olive oil and mix. Add a bit of soy sauce and mix. Vinegar may be added to taste.

Serve. Chili powder may be sprinkled on top or around the vegetables.