Got a minute? Well, then you got pickles! These are so quick and simple to make, and can easily be made in small or large batches. I love to use wasabi in salad dressings and marinades- it adds a whole other layer of depth and flavor to a cold dish. Try just a little if you are sensitive to the sinus-clearing effects of this wondrous root!
I must thank my parents for providing me with these fresh from the vine cucumbers from their garden. They were still covered with a layer of pricklies. If you don't have access to super fresh cukes, I recommend using Kirby cucumbers, a smaller variety that are ~6 inches long, since they are firmer and crunchier.
Sweet Wasabi Pickles
2 medium cucumbers (firm to the touch), sliced extra thin
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp mirin**
2-3 tsp sugar (depending on how sweet you like them)
1.5-2 tbsp wasabi paste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Spread the cucumber slices in a thin layer in a shallow pan or casserole dish. (Enough so that they do not sit mounded.) Whisk together vinegar, mirin, sugar, and wasabi. Pour over the cucumbers. Sprinkle the pepper flakes on top.
You can eat them right away, or let marinade in the fridge for a few hours.
** Mirin is Japanese sweet rice cooking wine. It has a low alcohol content which lends it a unique flavor. You can find this at Asian markets, next to the soy sauces. For the best tasting mirins, you want to look at the ingredients on the back of the bottle. Make sure that the alcohol content is high, or is one of the first 2-3 major ingredients listed.