Salmon Cakes with Asparagus Risotto
Date night, done right!
There was definitely a lot of learning here, but I think we ended up with some pretty decent sushi!
As you can see, they are of varying degrees of professionalism. Dave, our friend Pete, and I all made several rolls (this photo is the first half of the sushi we made), and we all got better as we got more practice.
As usual, we used Alton Brown’s recipe for reference for the sushi rice.
You will need:
Making the rice is an interesting ordeal that can be done by one person, but is easier with two.
Rinse off the rice a few times before starting. Cook it and two cups of water over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, Alton says to reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover, cooking for 15 minutes. You’ll have to stir occasionally. After that let it stand for 10 minutes or so.
Combine the other ingredients in a small bowl and warm up in the microwave (30 seconds ish), then add to the rice in a large mixing bowl. Fold into the rice. Then the fun begins.
The rice needs to be stick, so the sugar will help with that. But after you fold in the vinegar and sugar, cut the rice with a rubber spatula (rather than stirring round and round) while someone else (or your non-dominant hand) fans the bowl with something flat (we used a gladware lid. There are special fans for this, but we don’t have one 🙂 ). Keep doing this as the rice cools.
When the rice is cool, get out your sushi mat and make sure it’s covered in plastic. This rice will not be easy to wash off! We used plastic wrap to cover the mat. Now is the time to get out your nori (we cut the sheets in half) and whatever veggies you want to put in the sushi. We used varying combinations of cucumber, carrots, avocado and asparagus.
Place your nori on the mat first, and then add a couple of tablespoons of rice on top of it- not very much or you will overstuff the roll. Flatten the rice on the nori so it covers about 2/3 of it, leaving the remaining 1/3 on one end. The uncovered space will be the part that wraps around the fillings.
Then add your choice of toppings, but keep in mind, not very much will fit! When you have rolled up the entire roll, the amount of space the toppings take up will be about the size and shape of a dime. After you’ve added the toppings, I found it worked best to put a little bit more rice on top of them, so the nori at the top will stick – just a dollop here and there.
Then, you roll. use the mat to start rolling from the full end of the nori towards the part that you left empty. Don’t squeeze a lot, but you should squeeze a little to make the rice even out and to make everything stick to the nori. Try to make the two ends of the nori meet on top of the roll, using that extra rice you put on top as the glue to stick it together. You may have to sneak a couple of extra chunks of rice in if there’s a gap somewhere.
Then, it’s time to cut. It’s important to have the sharpest knife in your kitchen for this. A serrated knife also would work, but go with whatever’s sharpest. Take the sushi roll from the mat to the cutting board and put the seam of the nori face down. Then cut the roll in half using a sawing motion – the nori is going to be the tough part to cut through and you want to move it as little as possible. Once you’ve cut the roll in half, double it up so you can slice two at a time. You should be able to get six pieces per roll.
And then – this is important – get the coolest chopsticks you can find (thanks, Karen):