Author Notes: When we visited Kyoto, a few hours’ ride from Tokyo on the famous Bullet train, we found a little restaurant in the heart of town that won us over with the names of dishes listed on the menu: Firecracker Tofu, Pickled Mixed Radish Salad, and the mysterious sounding Okonomiyaki. The chefs were clearly having fun at this place, and we were blown away by the depth of flavor they achieved with such simple preparations. We threw back some sake and tore through plate after plate of food. This salad is inspired by that meal, featuring quirky sea beans (a seaweed-like swamp/beach vegetable) and the haunting flavor of shiso (Japanese mint). You can find fresh sea beans at a gourmet market. If they’re not available, substitute pencil-thin asparagus. Look for shiso in Asian markets, but substitute fresh cilantro if you can’t find it. —Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby
Photo by Michael Spain-Smith
Vedge's Sea Bean Salad with Daikon and CucumberPrint Recipe
- 2 large cucumbers, peeled (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 large daikon radish, peeled
- 4 scallions
- 1/2 pound sea beans, ends trimmed
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 fresh shiso leaves, finely chopped
Cut the flesh of the cucumber into very thin noodle-like strips. Avoid the seeds by not cutting the very center of the cucumber. A mandoline works best, or use a knife and slice really thin.
Cut the daikon into the same thin noodle-like strips. Here there are no seeds, so you can cut through the entire vegetable.
Trim the roots of the scallions, then slice them into fine rings. Start at the white bottom and use about three-quarters of each scallion, until the leaves become much darker green and thicker.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl to ensure they are well mixed, then add all of the vegetables. Toss to combine, then cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes, but no longer than 24 hours or they will get mushy. Serve chilled.
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