Japanese Potato Salad
An izakaya serves delicious food at a reasonable price—potato salad is one typical izakaya dish. Japanese potato salad includes cucumbers for crunch. You can use either fluffy russet potatoes or the sweet, crisp Yukon gold variety. For a bountiful starter, serve this on a platter with sliced ham, hard-boiled eggs, canned baby corn, canned tuna or sardines, bacon, capers, and olives and let diners serve themselves. You can make a great sandwich with the leftover salad.
Ingredients: For the salad
- 1 pound russet potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes, about 2 large potatoes
- ¼ yellow onion
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
- 1 Japanese cucumber or ½ standard cucumber
- Freshly ground sansho, white, or black pepper to taste
Ingredients: For the dressing
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sushi vinegar
- Freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
- Make the salad. Wrap the potatoes in plastic wrap and microwave on high heat until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- While the potatoes are cooling, peel the onion and slice it thinly. Massage about half the salt into the onion and set aside to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes. Rinse the salted onion with running water and squeeze out the excess water.
- Peel and stem the cucumber. If you are using a standard cucumber, cut it in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out with a spoon.
- Thinly slice the cucumber diagonally. Place the cucumber slices in a medium bowl, sprinkle with the remaining salt and massage the surface of the slices gently. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- For the dressing, in a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sushi vinegar, lemon juice, and salt.
- As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle (but still hot), peel them and add them to the large bowl with the dressing. Mash the potatoes with a fork, leaving some larger chunks for texture. Fold in the onion and cucumber until just incorporated.
- Arrange the potato salad on a plate and season with sansho.
© Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking by Rika Yukimasa, Rizzoli New York, 2020. Photography © Teruaki Kawakami.