Simple Seaweed Salad

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 20 minutes

The easiest way to produce this salad is to buy a small package of mixed seaweeds (your local natural foods store may sell this, and your local Japanese store certainly does) and proceed from there. But once you get more familiar with seaweed, you can use wakame, kelp, hijiki, or others, alone or in any combination you like.

1 ounce assorted dried seaweeds or wakame

1/4 cup minced shallot, scallion, or red onion

2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste

1 tablespoon rice wine or other light vinegar, or to taste

1 tablespoon mirin or 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste

1/2 tablespoon dark sesame oil, or to taste

Pinch cayenne, or to taste

Salt, if necessary

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional; see The Nut and Seed Lexicon)

01 Rinse the seaweed once and soak it in at least 10 times its volume of water. When tender, about 5 minutes later, drain and gently squeeze the mixture to remove excess water. Pick through the seaweed to sort out any hard bits (there may be none) and chop or cut up (you may find it easier to use scissors) if the pieces are large. Put in a bowl.

02 Toss with the shallot, soy sauce, vinegar, mirin, sesame oil, cayenne, and salt. Taste and add salt or other seasonings as necessary. Serve garnished with the sesame seeds.

7 Additions to Simple Seaweed Salad

You can add these singly or in combination. I love radishes and cucumber combined here, for example.

  1. 1/2 to 1 pound cucumber, peeled and seeded if necessary, thinly sliced, then salted and squeezed to remove excess water
  2. Several radishes or a piece of daikon, peeled if necessary, thinly sliced, then salted and squeezed to remove excess water
  3. A tablespoon or two of Kombu Dashi, for extra juiciness and flavor
  4. Grated peeled fresh ginger to taste, about a tablespoon
  5. Chopped seeded and peeled tomato, about 1 medium
  6. 1/2 to 1 cup peeled and chopped Asian pear or Granny Smith apple
  7. 1/2 cup chopped nuts, like walnuts, almonds, cashews, or pecans