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This salad basically comes straight from the countryside of Mt. Rokko in Kobe from my Japanese "mom", Yoko, but with my spin on it of course.  She called it a fresh tsukemono, but I transferred it into a salad. This salad was one of the most popular dishes at my restaurant Nojo. The most important ingredient in the salad is the cucumber.  Also very important are good quality soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil. 

serves 4

8 Japanese cucumbers
1 tablespoon sea salt
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon Iio Jozo Pure Rice Vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce (either Yamaki Jozo Organic Soy Sauce or Horikawaya Nomura Mitsuboshi Soy Sauce)
1 tablespoon organic sesame oil (either Wadaman Black, Golden or White)
Yamatsu Tsujita Shichimi Togarashi, pinch
2 half sheets of toasted nori

Place the cucumbers on a cutting board and rub the tablespoon of sea salt on outside of each of one.  (Note: Not all the salt will stick and that is ok)  Let sit for 10 minutes.  This is the fun part - take a small rolling pin and gently smash each cucumber.  Be careful not to pulverise them, you just want them a little broken.  Using your hands break them up into large bite size pieces.  Then transfer to a bowl for mixing.

In another bowl, combine the vinegar and soy sauce, then whisk in the sesame oil.  Pour some dressing over the cucumbers, add a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi.  The shichimi togarashi will add some heat, so use as much as you desire (I prefer a light sprinkling).  Toss together and taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary.  Scoop out plates and garnish with toasted nori, which you can do by gently crumbling it you hands. 

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