Before seeing this dish on Hiroyuki’s Blog on Japanese Cooking I had never heard of a raw onion – based salad and had not imagined it might be palatable. Yet, on Hiroyuki’s photo it looked both intriguing and seducing, so I decided to try it as soon as possible. When I finally took the first bite, I was simply speechless. I still find it hard to understand how an onion salad can be so refreshing, light and complex, even though the other ingredients play here an irreplaceable role. Together with the Tomato and Shiso Salad, it has become one of my staple side dishes for hot days. Thank you, Hiroyuki, for this excellent and original recipe!
If you cook Japanese, you probably already have all the necessary ingredients. If you don’t, the only two “exotic” products you need to buy is katsubobushi (shaved bonito) and ponzu sauce (which may be substituted here by a mixture of soy sauce and lime juice). I have lots of shallots I was offered by my family, so I used shallots instead of onion. Soaking onion is not necessary, but I don’t like the harsh onion taste and always do this.
Preparation: 15 minutes
Ingredients (serves 2):
2 medium onions or two shallots
1 handful of shaved bonito (katsuobushi)
3 tablespoons ponzu (or 2 tablespoons soy sauce+1 tablespoon lime juice)
1 heaped tablespoon mayonnaise
Cut the onion/shallot into thin slices (or use a mandolin to make transparent slices).
Put them in a bowl of cold water and let it soak for 15 minutes (or not, if you like a stronger onion taste).
Drain and pat dry.
Put the onion on a serving plate.
Sprinkle with ponzu, cover with katsuobushi and top with mayonnaise.