Wednesday, December 17, 2008

CSA week three - Sunomono

Sunomono is a generic term for any vinegary Japanese side-dish salad. I had this with my leftover sukiyaki and I thought the contrast of the astringent salad dressing and the sweet sukiyaki sauce improved both dishes.

I cobbled my version together from several recipes I found on-line, but there's not a huge amount of variety out there.

1 medium cucumber
1 small daikon
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1 fluid oz soy sauce
1/2 fluid oz rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon chili oil
1 pinch sugar

3 oz picked crab meat

0. Don't peel the cucumber or the daikon. OK, you can peel the daikon if you really want to.

1. Thinly slice the cucumber and daikon in similar ways. I used my mandoline to make somewhat larger julienne than I really wanted. I probably should have used my food processor and made shreds instead. Coins would be fine too. I also probably should have scooped out the cucumber seeds but they did no great harm.

2. Toss vegetables with salt and put into a colander. Let them desiccate and drain for 45 minutes. Rinse off the salt and drain/spin/pat dry the vegetables.

3. Mix the dressing ingredients. Put the vegetables and the crab into a bowl, add the dressing, toss, let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving.

Those 15 minutes are actually important I found. Not only does that give the vegetables time to soak up some of the dressing, but the flavors are best at just below room temperature.

I know you don't have crab. I wouldn't either if I hadn't bought it for the callaloo last week. The dish is OK without it, but it's really much better and much more Japanese (which was important to me as I was pairing it with the also distinctively Japanese combination of soy, sweet and fishy in the sukiyaki). The slight bite of the daikon and the cool freshness of the cucumber both pair nicely with the crab. Right now, I'm thinking the three, with a little mayo, would work just as well in little crustless sandwiches for afternoon tea. But with soy and vinegar, yeah, very Japanese. Serve with teriyaki, yakitori, anything yaki, really.

No comments: