When we traveled to Japan together last year, Naoto & his family introduced me to many new tastes, textures and flavor combinations. Some were pretty scary (I remember you, abalone!), some were pretty delicious (mmm…a hot dog surrounded by a flaky crust) but some were unforgettably tasty combinations that Naoto & I can recreate at home. This salad, which we named the Kikuko salad after my mother-in-law, is one of those crazy good combinations.
a head of iceberg lettuce
an 8oz package of kaiware (also known as radish sprouts and can be found in Asian grocery stores or substituted with pea sprouts found more commonly in regular grocery stores)
bran flakes (yes, the regular kind you find in the cereal aisle)
Kewpie mayonnaise (found in Asian grocery stores, I’m not sure there is a substitution for this…Japanese mayonnaise is slightly sweeter, richer and smoother than regular mayo)
Chop the iceberg lettuce into bite-sized pieces and put into serving bowl. Cut the sprouts in half and add in with the lettuce and mix well. Slice the tomatoes and place on top of the salad.
The bran flakes and Kewpie mayo are added at the table. Think of it like croutons and salad dressing.
If you’re anything like I was when this was placed before me at my mother-in-law’s table, you’re thinking:
What? Breakfast cereal on a salad? With mayonnaise?
But I’m serious when I say try it…because it’s delicious! The iceberg lettuce is crisp and fresh. The kaiware is slightly spicy, like a tiny mild radish. The tomatoes are bright and juicy. The bran flakes are sweet and crunchy. And the mayo is creamy and rich. Kikuko salad covers all of the taste bases.
If you try it, please let me know what you think! And…do you have any weird food combinations that you enjoy (but maybe others question)? Please share!
P.S. (part 2) Kewpie mayonnaise does contain MSG…so if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, use sparingly. I personally have a numb tongue right now…