Pickled Vegetable, Seaweed & Sesame Salad

This is a salad that stands alone as a course in its own right, but it is also excellent topped with grilled fish – especially an oily fish like mackerel or salmon. In this recipe I use arame seaweed, but you can use any seaweed you fancy. One thing to aim for is a good contrast in colours, sweetness and acidity, so choose an assortment of vegetables and spices to suit your taste. You’ll need to make the pickled vegetables a few days in advance to get the benefit of the pickling. Stored in a jar in the fridge they will keep for three months.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and finely julienned
  • 1 10cm (4 in) piece of mooli (daikon), peeled and finely julienned
  • ½ cucumber, de-seeded and finely sliced into rings
  • 1 red pepper, seeds removed and finely julienned
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • 300ml (11fl oz) cider vinegar
  • 600ml (1 pint) water
  • 1 50g (5oz) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon finely ground star anise
  • 25g (1oz) dried arame seaweed
  • 50ml (fl oz) sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup finely sliced spring onions

Method

Mix all the vegetables and the ginger together. Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and star anise to the boil. Fill a glass preserving jar with hot tap water and leave it to warm for a few minutes, then tip the water out and pack the vegetables in. Pour the boiling vinegar over the vegetables and seal the jar while hot. Leave until completely cold, then place in the fridge for a few days.

Soak the arame seaweed in warm water for 3 hours and then drain, keeping half a cup of the liquid. Heat the sesame oil in a pan and fry the arame for a few minutes over moderate heat, add the soaking liquid and cook until it has evaporated, then leave to cool. To serve, mix half the pickled vegetables and arame with the sesame seeds before adding 100ml (fl oz) of the pickling liquid and the spring onions.