The recently opened Gaijin from chef Paul Virant is his return to the Chicago restaurant scene. The kitchen is mostly dedicated to serving okonomiyaki, but served along with it are seasonal vegetables that have been marinated with kombu (kelp) and other ingredients. Virant believes that it’s the perfect Japanese-inspired party appetizer, so he's shared the recipe below for all of your party-throwing needs. And if you're in need of ideas of what to drink with them, Virant recommends a cold Japanese lager.
Kombu-Marinated VegetablesCourtesy of chef Paul Virant of Gaijin, Chicago
1 cup celery, washed, peeled and cut into batonettes
1 cup carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, sliced thinly on a bias
1 cup radishes, washed, trimmed, sliced thinly
4-by-4-inch piece kombu
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
1 pint water
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon furikake or other rice seasoning
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon aonori (ground nori)
1. Combine the celery, carrots, radishes, kombu, salt and water and store in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Drain the vegetables and mix with the remaining ingredients; marinate for at least 1 hour before serving. Season with more salt if needed. Serve.
Photo by Regan Baroni.