Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Marinated Cucumber Salad: Sunomono ...sort of

Summer heat just hit and while I'm not complaining, I am decidedly less interested in spending time in the galley. It's a temporary condition, the weather and my lack of energy, but luckily we enjoy a variety of no-cook dishes that take almost no effort to prepare. Cucumber salad is one of those favorites.

This is a versatile summer salad, or side dish, or even sandwich condiment, perfect for those days when it's just too hot to cook. Not that I cook many salads, but you get the idea. Delicious with just cukes, onions and seasoned rice wine vinegar, this dish can complement almost any entree flavorwise. Add some soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger to the vinegar, top it with sesame seeds and nori and presto! it's more Asian in character. Pair it with a serving of seaweed salad (wakame) and take the Asian connection a step further. 

Deceptively simple, the salad balances the cool crunch of the cukes, the bite from the pepper and vinegar and the sweetness of sugar so that every bite bursts with flavor. What more can you ask of a simple vegetable dish?

Marinated Cucumber Salad

1 large English cucumber, sliced paper thin, crosswise
1/2 small white onion, very thinly sliced into half moons
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
   OR 1/4 cup plain rice wine vinegar + 2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp salt
a few grinds of black pepper

a dash each of soy sauce and sesame oil (optional)

1 tsp minced or grated fresh ginger root (optional)

1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds (optional topping)

1 tsp shredded Nori (optional topping)

Combine all ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for least 1 hour before serving. 

Adjust the flavor with any or all of the suggested optional flavorings - or come up with some of your own add-in ideas.

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