This Sunday I decided to go with a Japanese feast. A Japanese dinner is not complete without a selection of Japanese pickles. With a constant need to experiment, today I choose to add fujisawa aosako—dried green laver seaweed flakes—to my cucumber pickles.
After Dinner Note: While these pickles were quite tasty, however this seaweed has a very strong smell of the sea, which may not be for everyone.
Karl’s Japanese Cucumbers Pickles with Green Seaweed
2 large Japanese cucumbers, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1½ Tbs. Kosher salt
3 Tbs. mirin
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. green seaweed flakes
1. Slice the cucumbers very thinly.
Tip: A mandoline is very useful for making even, thin slices.
Note: I hold the cucumber by the stem end while I am slicing the cucumbers. The stem end of the cucumber contains a bitter compound that will spread to the rest of the pickles if you put it in with the rest as you are pickling. I toss the “handle” into the trash/composter.
2. Put the cucumber into a bowl and sprinkle the salt over the slices.
3. Toss the cucumbers to coat them with the salt and let them rest for 20-30 minutes.
Tip: The salt will draw off a fair amount of the moisture in the cucumbers that would dilute your pickling sauce.
4. Put the mirin, vinegar, water, sugar and ginger in a seal-able quart plastic bag.
Tip: Seal and shake to dissolve the sugar.
5. Squeeze as much liquid as you can from the cucumber slices.
Tip: Be careful not to crush the slices into pieces.
6. Put the slices in the bag and sprinkle the seaweed powder over the cucumbers.
7. Shake the bag to mix the seaweed into the vegetables and then press the air out of the bag.
8. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Tip: Overnight is better. Flip the bag occasionally to ensure all of the cucumber slices are in contact with the pickling sauce.
Note: While this is too little pickle to use most pickle presses on, I put several bags of different pickles into my press and marinate them together.
9. Drain and transfer the pickles to a serving bowl or individual small plates.
Tip: I picked out the slices of ginger to use as a garnish.