When in need of a quick simple meal I often turn to Japanese food for inspiration. While some preparation and presentations can be extremely time-consuming, at it’s core, Japanese food is about simplicity.
Shabu Shabu is typically considered a winter dish because it involves cooking paper thin slices of meat and vegetables in dashi at your table. The name is derived from the sound chopsticks make as you swish your meat around in the boiling stock to cook it. After a brief dip in the water, the meat is typically dipped in either a sesame sauce or ponzu (citrus and soy sauce).
This summer salad is a lighter take on Shabu Shabu requiring minimal cooking (thus minimal heat) while providing a well balanced meal that will sate your hunger and keep it at bay for a few hours longer than a bunch of lettuce would.
Dressed in a yuzu soy sauce dressing, the crispy batons of daikon radish add some body to the salad while the flash cooked pork gives it both flavour and protein. The best part is that it takes almost no-time to prepare and won’t turn your kitchen into a sweltering sauna in the middle of summer.
a pot of dashi (since you’ll toss this out I usually cheat and use the powdered kind)
very thin slices of pork (think deli meat thickness)
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs yuzu juice (or lemon juice)
1 Tbs vegetable oil
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 tsp sugar
2″ length of daikon radish peeled
couple handfuls of mixed baby greens or lettuce (I used arugola and mizuna)
If you have a Japanese grocery nearby you should be able to get nicely marbled meat pre-cut into thin slices, but if you don’t you could have your butcher do it for you. If you have a sharp knife and better knife skills than I, you could do this yourself in theory, but you’ll want to partially freeze the meat I should warn you that it’s very hard to get thin uniform slices.
Cut the daikon lengthwise into thin batons, using a mandoline speeds this up. Soak them in a large bowl of ice cold water for about 10-15 minutes to take the “bite” off and bring out the sweetness.
Bring the dashi to a boil and using chopsticks or tongs, swish one or two slices of meat around at a time for a few seconds. Because it’s pork you need to cook it all the way through, but it should just barely be cooked. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool too room temperature.
Whisk all the dressing ingredients together. Transfer the pork to a bowl and pour about half the dressing over the meat and stir to combine. Drain the daikon and toss with some of the dressing. Toss the greens with some dressing and then assemble your salad.