Last week, Jan and I went over the hill to Santa Cruz to visit her “new” brother. While we were there, we stopped by a large book store that was going out of business. The cookbook section was fairly picked over, but as I was perusing the fiction section I found a book Izakaya: Japanese Bar food—someone had obviously picked it up and then changed their mind, leaving it “where ever.” Their loss, my gain. This Sunday, I decided to make a Japanese bar style dinner.
I had bought Japanese cucumbers for a wakami salad, but it only needed one of the four in the package. An obvious solution for the excess was to make pickles. The Izakaya recipes calle for the cucumbers and carrots to be marinated for four hours. Since this was a last minute decision, I did not have that much time before dinner.
My first decision was to take out the carrots—they would barely start pickling before dinner. My second choice was to slice the cucumbers really thinly. The cucumbers would pickle quite quickly, with more of the cucumber’s surface in direct contact with the sauce.
Karl’s Japanese Bar Style Pickled Cucumbers
2 Tbs. unseasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. Japanese soy sauce
1 tsp. fresh ginger, finely shredded
3 Japanese cucumbers
½ tsp. white sesame seeds
1. Put the vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and ginger in a seal-able quart plastic bag.
Tip: Seal and shake to dissolve the sugar.
2. Slice the cucumbers very thinly.
Tip: A mandoline is very useful for making even, thin slices.
3. Put the slices in the bag and press the air out.
4. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Tip: Flip the bag occasionally to ensure all of the cucumber slices are in contact with the pickling sauce.
5. Transfer the pickles to a serving bowl or individual small plates and garnish with the sesame seeds.