Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ginger Apricot Lotus Salad

Whenever I stop at our local Japanese grocery store I can't help but pick up a few unique items that I've never cooked with before.  For a store smaller than our tiny apartment, they have an amazing variety of Japanese and Asian goods.  I once bought every supply needed to make sushi at this store, including the rolling mats!  This time I picked up a package of sliced lotus root, mainly because I love the way it looks.   When sliced, lotus root looks like a flower or lace doily and makes any dish look fancier.  
I decided to go for a simple flavorful salad since this was my first time making a dish with lotus root.  I sliced thin cucumber rounds for freshness, which happened to be about the same size as the lotus rounds.  The sliced apricot wedges added a burst of tart juiciness that was amazing with the rather tame flavor of the lotus.  And when I say rather tame, I mean literally flavorless.  The taste of the root definitely doesn't match up to it's appearance.  But it added some crunch to the salad to say the least, and absorbed some flavor from the potent ginger-garlic sauce.  This is a great fresh tasting salad perfect for these hot summer days.

  • thinly sliced lotus root (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups) 
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 apricots sliced into thin wedges - I like them a little hard so they are sour more than sweet
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt to taste

To try and bring out flavor from the lotus root, I placed it in a bowl with the juice from one lime, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and sugar, mixed, and let it sit for about 10 minutes while I prepared the other ingredients.  

Grate the ginger and garlic with a microplane which will give you a very fine paste.  You won't be able to get the entire clove grated, but that's okay because garlic has such a strong flavor when raw.

 In a bowl, combine the paste with the vinegar, other half of lime juice, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, olive oil, and honey. Whisk.  
In a bowl, mix together the cucumber and apricot slices.  Drain the lotus root, and add it to the mix.  Stir in the sauce and let sit for at least 15 minutes, chilled, until ready to serve.  

This is also great the next day when more of the flavors have absorbed into one another.  It keeps for several days, in an air tight container in the fridge.  Enjoy!

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