Spicy Ika Salad
Here’s another Japanese inspired salad that is too heavily influenced by the large land mass on the east side of the Pacific to be called a sunomono. Our first experience with something like this came at the hands of a Korean sushi chef on South Padre Island and we have taken liberties with the concept since then. The detours began by toning down what Kathy lovingly refers to as the “anaphyllactic shock” quality that typically comes with any Korean preparation. Then we switched cephlapods and went with the much easier to acquire squid. The Japanese version uses cuttlefish instead, which really does make a substantial difference. Avocado’s presence plants this recipe squarely in the Western Hemisphere as does the salad’s intense spiciness, even if it is provided by Japanese condiments. The addition of tobiko (flying fish eggs) and a shiso leaf garnish complete the illusion that this salad would be served in Kyoto but you’re really more likely to see it in Kalamazoo. This recipe has been heavily field tested to be a sake friendly appetizer!
1/2 cup sashimi quality squid, julienned
1 cup Asian or English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small avocado, diced large
2 Tbs tobiko
1/2 tsp spicy sesame oil, or 1/4 tsp each of sesame and chili oils
1 tsp sichimi togarashi or salt free Cajun seasoning
2 Tbs sea salt
Shiso leaf for garnish
Salt and chill the cucumbers for 30 minutes, then rinse twice in tap water and then a final rinse in good ice water. Remove from water and squeeze out as much water as yo can by hand.
Mix all ingredients except shiso and serve in chilled bowls garnished with shiso.