OK, it's July now, and Alaska's temperatures are rapidly approaching "hot," so this Japanese cucumber salad is a cool way to beat the heat. A few facts about cukes: There are quite a few different types (who knew?). Some are best for pickling, some for eating, and some are good for both. Look for cukes with descriptors like "burpless," or "slicers," meaning they are crunchy and light, and literally won't make you burp.
Find cucumbers at Alaska's farmers markets from now through September, or pick some up at your local grocery store. Just be sure the cukes are firm, not mushy (especially on the ends). Serve up this dish with fish (salmon and halibut, anyone?), or grilled meats. It's perfect for deckside dining.
1 cup rice wine vinegar
2 TBS of Nori (a Japanese seasoning) or 2 TBS white sesame seeds
1 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp ground or crushed dried chill pepper (or to taste)
1 mason-type jar or plastic container. If using a traditional mason jar, the metal bands and lids are OK for use, otherwise, avoid any other metal.
Trim ends of the cucumbers, and slice in half. Then, slice cucumbers in half again, lengthwise. Slice that in thirds lengthwise. Now, one more time: slice the cucumber into thirds again, this time perpendicular so you end up with nice chunks.
Place cucumber chunks in mason jar.
Add remaining ingredients. Close the lid and shake to mix.
Leave in refrigerator overnight or up to four days.
Shake or invert the jar once in a while to infuse dressing around cucumbers.