Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vidalia onion salad オニオンサラダ

The health effect of onion is a bit overhyped in Japan but eating raw onion is not easy because of the strong pungent taste. Vidalia onion is a milder onion since it contains less of the sulfa compounds and its derivatives develop by enzymatic actions after slicing, which is the basis of strong smell/taste and also its alleged heath benefits. Onion salads in different incarnations are being served up in some Izakaya. Quick scan of the Otsumami yokocho cookbooks reveals at least two versions. One looks particularly interesting topped with an egg yolk and bonito flakes. This is my more tame version made of Vidalia onion and slices of tomato.

The preparation of the onion is the same as in the cucumber onion salad. I slice onion thinly, salt, knead, let it stand for 5-10 minutes, squeeze and then wash it in cold running water. I then soak it in cold water for 15 minutes or longer and squeeze dry before using. (I am sure the most important substences for the onion's health benefits will be lost in this process but at least you can eat it without crying or smelling like an onion afterwords).

For dressing, I made a mixture of soy sauce, lemon juice, mirin, and sesame oil (to your liking, I did not measure) and dressed the onion. I spread the oinon on the plate and layered sliced tomato (skinned). I sprinkled some Kosher salt, good fruity olive oil and freshly ground peper (I used white pepper) on the tomato slices and garnished it with chopped chives. I chilled it in the refrigerator before serving.

It is very nice refreshing salad in hot weather. It may have lost some of the health benefits but the taste is very mild and even those who may not like raw onion will be able to enjoy it.

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