Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Daikon and Carrot Salad

Of all the fish to fall for, my children have given their hearts to mackerel. We were in Cornwall earlier this year, and bought mackerel from the fisherman's wife. The fish were so fresh they still looked surprised at being caught. I baked them with a little pear cider and a few bay leaves gleaned from a neighbour's garden, and my kids demolished them – my six year old ate an entire fish.*

Even now, it's the only fish my four year old will eat. I found imported smoked mackerel recently, and she devoured even that with relish. But buying rare overpriced groaning-with-air-miles smoked fish is insane, so I'm trying to convince her to eat a little salmon. It, too, is oily with a firm flesh and distinctive flavour.

We don't eat it often, but when we do we like to serve it with this salad. The sharpness cuts through the unctuousness of the fish, and the sesame goes well with the salmon.

We also eat this salad as part of a meal of rice and vegetables; Korean or Japanese flavours are the best match.

*I blame my children's passion for mackerel and other English fish partly on The Mousehole Cat. My kids can identify every fish in the book and have asked me many times now to make stargazy pie. You can read more about The Mousehole Cat here.

PS – You might enjoy my short hymn to English food; click here.

Daikon and Carrot Salad

- 1 carrot, very coarsely grated
- 1 medium-sized daikon, very coarsely grated
- salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbs sesame oil

Put the carrot and daikon in a colander and salt lightly. Leave on the draining board for up to an hour. Rinse well, drain, then press dry on a clean tea towel. Place the daikon and carrot into a bowl.

Mix together the sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil, then toss through the daikon and carrot.

Serve. A few leaves of coriander make a nice garnish.

(If you need to skip the salting stage, the salad will be a bit watery. You can compensate slightly by increasing the amount of soy – but, for both flavour and texture, it's best to salt.)

Adapted from a recipe in Korean Cooking by Hilaire Walden.

(Local: daikon, carrot. Not local: sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar.)

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