The weekend cook: Ken Yamada’s recipes for Japanese salads and side dishes
Three easy staples of the Japanese table, from Tonkotsu’s executive chef
Ken Yamada’s Cornish crab, cucumber and wakame salad. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay
Ken Yamada Friday 3 February 2017 17.00 GMT Last modified on Saturday 4 February 2017 00.10 GMT
When you run a small restaurant group, the cooking often takes a back seat. But the part of my job I enjoy the most is developing new dishes. After all the tasting and tweaking, that unanimous nod from every chef in the kitchen gives me a high every time. My working hours are irregular at best, so at home my fridge is always full of salad ingredients and pickles, so I can give my family their five-a-day veg on the fly. Here are three of our staples.
Cornish crab, cucumber and wakame salad
A wonderfully refreshing salad or light starter. I don’t usually have a live brown crab in the fridge, and this makes a lovely vegetarian dish without it, but sometimes you want to push the boat out. If time is tight, a packet of picked white crab meat provides an easy shortcut, and means the dish is the work of minutes (the salad works with cooked, peeled prawns, too).
If you are starting with a whole crab, you won’t need the brown meat for this dish. It’s a crying shame to waste it, so turn it into a dip: pass the brown meat through a fine sieve to make a smooth paste, then mix with 100g mayonnaise and the juice of half a lemon. It’s great for dunking blanched sprouting broccoli stalks or asparagus.
The cucumber and seaweed really benefit from their marinade, so make them ahead of time. Serves four.