I have Mike McEnearney’s book Kitchen By Mike on a long borrow from my sister while her house is being demolished and a new one built. Despite the fact there’s quite a lot of meat-based recipes, I’m getting quite a lot out of it because the salads are just so good, and salads are my favorite type of food to eat. A couple of months ago, I went to Kitchen by Mike in Roseberry and I was blown away by the food – I particularly loved the canteen style with all the food laid out on platters to pick and choose from. I had two salads: a mains salad of roasted beetroot with chickpeas, Persian feta and dukkah, and this cucumber salad as my side. Unfortunately, Kitchen By Mike closed about a month ago, so my first visit was my last, but I’ve been making this salad ever since as a consolation. The mirin dressing is stupendous (I have been known to drink the left over dressing), so make a double batch – it will keep up to two weeks in the fridge. Pour it over steamed greens, asparagus, oysters… whatever, or drink it straight – it’s all good.
Cucumber, mirin and sesame salad
Adapted from Mike McEnearney’s Kitchen by Mike
- 2 long cucumbers
- 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds (if you don’t have black sesame seeds just use white)
- 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
- 1 long red chilli, finely sliced
- ½ bunch coriander sprigs picked
Mirin and ginger dressing
- 110 mls mirin
- 2 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar
- 3 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 pinch of salt flakes
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 cm knob of ginger, finely chopped
- 2 red shallots, finely chopped (or one small red onion)
- For the dressing, mix all ingredients together, leave for at least an hour for flavours to meld.
- Lightly toast sesame seeds in a cast iron pan and set aside.
- Halve the cucumbers length-ways and scrape out seeds, then cut into strips on a sharp diagonal about 1 cm thick. Place cucumber slices in a bowl, add coriander, chilli and sesame seeds. Pour over dressing mix well and serve.