Quick turnip pickles (kabu no sokuseki-zuke)

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient
12 mediums Turnips
5 \N Heaping Tbs salt
4 \N (10-cm) piece giant kelp (konbu)
1 \N (2 1/2-cm) square yuzu citron or lemon rind

An example of "instant" salt pickling. It takes only an hour for these pickles to ripen, and they will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for the better part of a week. Also appropriate for cucumber sliced in thin wafers. Peel and seed large cucumbers.

To prepare: Cut off greens from turnips and reserve. Wash turnips, peel, then cut into very fine julienne strips. Wash greens, dry, then chop finely.

Put turnip strips with finely chopped greens into a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Table salt is fine. Knead with your hands and mix thoroughly to draw water out of vegetable. In less than a minute, a fair amount of liquid will be produced. Discard this liquid.

Add the konbu and a 1-inch (2½-cm) square of yuzu citron or lemon rind. Let stand, lidded and with a light weight, for 1 hour at room temperature.

To serve: Pick out a portion from the bowl with chopsticks or fork and shake off liquid. Arrange in a mound on individual pickle dish.

You may season with a few drops of soy sauce, if desired.

From "Japanese Cooking; A Simple Art" by Shizuo Tsuji, with an introduction by M.F.K. Fischer. Kodansha International Ltd., Tokyo, New York and San Francisco, 1980. ISBN 0-87011-399-2.

NOTE: The "lidded and with a light weight" refers to making them in a Japanese pickle tub. A plate with a small rock in a nonreactive pan will do.

Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; May 6 1992.

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