This Japanese-Style Marinated Salmon, Pickled Cucumber and Radish Salad recipe is by local food lover, cook and author Belinda Jeffery. When I invited Belinda to share a recipe from her personal collection on Get Forked and Fly she was enormously enthusiastic. She has a contagious passion for all things food and lives to spread the food lovers’ word to anyone who shares and ‘gets’ her life-long liaison. Personally, I was rather excited that Belinda had so generously said ‘yes’ to my invitation, as her recipes are written with an elegant language that leaves a delicious taste in your mouth.
Belinda has written a string of cookbooks from the award-winning Desserts and Mix and Bake to The Country Cookbook and Utterly Delicious Simple Food. She has also been a contributor to delicious magazine and to ABC Local Radio and she runs cooking classes across the country. She is a local and seasonal food advocate and you will usually spot her at the Friday Mullumbimby Farmers’ Market chatting with growers and producers and collecting a brim-full of fresh produce for the home kitchen.
But my early memories of Belinda were from Friday night episodes of the award winning television show, Better Homes and Gardens. Each week Belinda would bake teacakes and desserts as well as wholesome and nourishing food that always seemed so seductively soothing. Belinda’s talent for baking and cooking was kindled as a child when she would stand on a chair and help in the kitchen. When she was 10 years old, her Mother purchased a Margaret Fulton cookbook. “That was a real turning point for me,” Belinda says. It was just the beginning of her food loving career, and Belinda has since worked in restaurants, written for food magazines, taught cooking, appeared on television and radio and written cookbooks – which is her biggest love.
This Japanese-Style Marinated Salmon, Pickled Cucumber and Radish Salad recipe is from Belinda’s latest cookbook – The Salad Book. I selfishly chose to reproduce the recipe here for its clean and simple flavours and method. You can thank me later! It’s light and fresh but with the savoury and earthy flavours of soy sauce and sesame oil to ground it. The ingredients are readily available from the supermarket and farmers market and, if you can get sweet, baby cucumbers all the better. The ones from Cooper Shoot Tomatoes at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market are exceptional.
The Salad Book by Belinda Jeffery is published by Penguin ($39.99 RRP). It features substantial main course and vibrant side salads for every season. Enjoy this Japanese-Style Marinated Salmon, Pickled Cucumber and Radish Salad recipe in the warmer months as a light lunch for two or an entrée for four. Bon Appétit!
- 450 g piece of salmon, skin off, pin bones removed (ask your fishmonger to cut it from the centre of the salmon, if possible)
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) mirin
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 teaspoons very finely grated ginger
- 3/4–1 teaspoon sesame oil
- pinch of sea salt, or to taste
- 6 radishes, sliced into a lovely, fine julienne
- 1 x 50 g packet radish sprouts
- 1 just-ripe avocado, cut into tiny dice
- Pickled cucumber
- 4 large or 6 smallish (or 8 tiny!) Lebanese cucumbers
- 100 ml rice vinegar
- 100 g caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Line a plate with a small sheet of baking paper. Sit the salmon on it, then cover it with plastic film. Pop the plate in the freezer and leave it there until the salmon has firmed up but isn’t frozen – this will help make slicing it thinly much easier.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the mirin, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil and salt, then set the mixture aside.
- Once the salmon feels firm, remove it from the freezer and use a really, really sharp knife to slice it very thinly. Lay the slices, side by side, in a shallow dish, then give the reserved mirin mixture a good stir and drizzle it over the salmon. Cover the dish tightly with plastic film and refrigerate it for 2–3 hours.
- Half an hour before you’re ready to serve the salmon, make the pickled cucumber. Thoroughly wash and dry the cucumbers, then run a vegetable peeler repeatedly down the length of each one to form long narrow ribbons, stopping when you get to the seedy core. Put the ribbons in a large bowl – discard the seedy cores, and the first ribbons on each side as they’re all skin and a bit chewy.
- Whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour this mixture over the cucumber ribbons and gently combine the two, then cover the bowl and pop it in the fridge.
- To serve the salad, put the julienned radish, radish sprouts and avocado in a bowl. Fish the cucumber ribbons out of their liquid, letting any excess drain back into the bowl, then add them to the radish mixture. Drizzle in a little of the liquid from the cucumbers and gently mix everything together.
- Remove the salmon from the fridge and arrange a ring of salmon slices on each plate. Make a pretty pile of the cucumber and radish salad in the centre of the ring and serve.
- Pin bones
- These are the fine, curved bones that you find in the thickest part of a salmon fillet. If you run your fingers across the deepest part of the flesh, you can feel their knobbly tops. I use a pair of pliers that I keep for kitchen work only to gently pull the bones up and out of the flesh. I find that regular pliers are fine for the few times I do this; however, if you eat a lot of fish you might like to think about buying a pair of special fish-bone tweezers.