Whether it's in an Izakaya (Japanese tapas bar) or a more refined Kaiseki(where 14 courses is the norm) restaurant, Japanese people are into having a variety of small plates. Like Spanish tapas, these aren't really big enough to be considered a course by American standards and the idea is to order a bunch of dishes. For people like me that can never decide what they want, this is works out nicely:-)
This is a little salad I made up out of some stuff I had left over in the fridge. The crisp sweet pear, the creamy ika and salty tangy pickled plum balance each other out nicely. If you're squeamish about ika or it's hard to find in your area, you could always replace it with some calamari rings seared in olive oil. The asian pears could be substituted for a sweet crispy apple and while the pickled plum isn't really substitutable, you can find it on the internet (do a search for "umeboshi").
- Prepare the dressing by mixing the umeboshi and olive oil. Add a bit more olive oil if it seems to pasty.
- Add the squid, pear and shiso leaves and mix to combine.
- Serve immediately. This also goes well on slices of cucumber.