The Sauce: Japanese Vinaigrette – Made with unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar and a little sugar, this dressing quick marinates the thinly sliced cucumbers for an easy cold one-vegetable side dish.
‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’
Kids beg for cukes
Bundled in a net bag, a half dozen Japanese cucumbers are sweet and tender enough to munch down like a carrot or sugar snap pea pod. My brew of kids, Audrey 5, Brig 4, and Dallin 2 at the time, jumped around begging me to buy them at the market around the corner from our Ginowan City apartment. “Are your sure that’s what you want?” I double checked. Once home I washed ’em, sipped off the blossom ends and handed one to each set of waiting fingers. They’d eat the crunchy skinny footlong treats tender skin and all.
The best equivalent in supermarkets are English cucumbers since American cukes have tough wax covered skin. The skin is tender enough to eat without peeling. They’re long and lanky but slightly bigger than their Japanese cousins. What I love about them is their frilly textured skin. When you slice them it looks like Grandma Sumsion’s delicate tatting or crocheting around the edges.
This cucumber dish has a light Japanese dressing with unseasoned rice vinegar and sugar. It brings out the flavor of fresh cucumbers with slices so thin you can almost see through them. The frilly dark forest green circular edges contrast the pale bottle green slices. This salad complements many Japanese dishes but I also love it as a picnic side with grilled meat or fish.
You may also enjoy You may also enjoy Sesame Shrimp with Miso Dipping Sauce, Sushi on the Fly, Shrimp and Pork Balls with Spicy Lime Sauce, Nigiri Fruit Sushi, Pearl Balls with Ponzu Dipping Sauce, Number One Dashi and Yakitori.
Recipe: Cucumber Salad
Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 0 Minutes | Yield: 4-6 Servings | Level: Easy
Special Equipment – Japanese mandoline, vegetable slicer or sharp knife
1 Slice cucumber in half lengthwise. Do not peel. Using the tip of a small spoon, remove the seeds by dragging it down the center. Very thinly slice the cucumber with a Japanese mandoline or sharp knife.
3 Drain the juice and serve.
The longer it marinades the softer the cucumber becomes but it also infuses the vinegar into the cucumber slices. The cucumbers are crisper when eaten freshly mixed.
It can also be made ahead and allowed to marinate for a few hours or overnight.
I like to use a measuring spoon to remove the seeds because I can pick the exact size spoon needed to cleanly extract the pulp.
Serve with Japanese cuisine such as Sesame Shrimp with Miso Dipping Sauce, Sushi on the Fly, Shrimp and Pork Balls with Spicy Lime Sauce, Nigiri Fruit Sushi, Pearl Balls with Ponzu Dipping Sauce, Number One Dashi and Yakitori.
- Exchange unseasoned for seasoned rice vinegar. It will be slightly sweeter.
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: October 22, 2013