Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Poles of Decandence

fantasically delicious
terrifyingly dangerous
supremely healthy
ridiculously expensive 

Well, only terrifyingly dangerous if your raw fish source is sketchy, but we have New Deal Fish Market (can you tell we love this place?) just outside Inman Square, which has just about the most perfect health and safety record around.  And only ridiculously expensive if you get it in a restaurant.  In fact, we just made sushi for 6 for $60.  When you pay way more in a restaurant you get a perfection to the slicing and rolling that does require years of training, but after just a few grossly overstuffed and mangled trial runs, it's easy to make quite decent looking and totally great tasting sushi at home. (If you've been following this blog for a while, you've seen a version of this crop up about once a year.) And like a lot of our favorite recipes, sushi can be made with whatever combination of fish and veggies happen to be available.  Ok, you need a few things that are from quite far out of town: sushi rice, nori, and avocado.  But for the rest, you can go as local or as far afield as suits your needs.  This time for us the local focus was the scallops and salmon, the scallions that are already shooting up in our gardens, and some peaches frozen last summer.

Sushi for 6 for $60
6 scallops
1 lb salmon
1/2 lb tuna
1/3 lb himachi
1 green pepper
2 avocadoes
1 cucumber
1 carrott
5 scallions
1 peach
10 chives
8-10 servings sushi rice, made according to package
1 package (8-10 sheets) nori
2 tsp. hot sauce (red's, tapatio, or your homemade favorite!)

Make the rice and when it is completely cooked according to package instructions, stir in mirin until the rice is slightly loose but still sticky. Spread it out on a tray to cool.

Cut all vegetables into long, thin sticks.

Slice fish, against grain, into 1/4 inch thick slices. If you are going to have sashimi, too, leave some as is. Otherwise, cut slices into strips for rolls. The rolls can take odd and end pieces, so use the nicest cuts for the sashimi.

To make spicy tuna, take about 1/2 cup of the tuna ends or pieces that are most awkawardly cut and mince them.  Stir in 2 tsp. hot sauce.

Have a bowl of water and a tea towel at hand for rinsing sticky hands.
Have serving platters ready to put prepared sushi onto.

Have a sharp knife ready.

When everything is cut and laid out in front of you, you are ready to begin filling.
Place a half sheet of nori in front of you. Imagine the nori in divided into 2 halves, top to bottom. With your hands, pick up ~ 1/4 cup rice and evenly spread it on the bottom half of the nori, leaving a one inch strip of nori at the very bottom uncovered. You may need a bit more rice. When it is evenly spread, gently but firmly press down all over rice to flatten it to the nori.

Place whatever fish/vegetable combination you desire in the middle third of the rice strip. Avoid overstuffing, as it will make rolling difficult. You may want to rinse your fingers if they are sticky from the rice.

Now you are ready to roll.
Gently roll the bottom edge away from you, towards the top, holding ingredients in as you go. If you have not overstuffed, the un-riced edge on the bottom should meet the un-riced edge at the top and will seal well. If it is too full and you can't get the edges to meet, remove some of the ingredients inside. If the nori won't stick to itself, dampen your fingers slightly with water and use the water as glue.

When it is completely rolled and staying together, take a very sharp knife and slice the roll, lengthwise, into 6 to 8 pieces, each around one inch wide and place on a platter. If you are serving small children, you can cut them slightly thinner, as thicker rolls are difficult for little mouthes. Serve with wasabi, tamari, and ginger.

Continue above directions until you have as many rolls as you want. We have been enjoying taking the leftover odds and ends of vegetables and fish and making a poke (sort of a salsa-like, salad-esque fish and vegetable mix). It's delicious and a nice addition to the meal.


Cube all leftover vegetables and fish from above and use the dressing below, or if starting from scratch, use the following:

1 peach (or mango)
1/2 avocado
1 cup sushi-grade, raw fish in any combination
7 sprigs cilantro, chopped


2 teas. toasted sesame oil
2 teas. tamari
2 teas. lemon juice
Chop peach, avocado, and fish (or other vegetables) into 1/4 to 1/3 inch cubes. Place in a bowl. Add dressing, stir gently, and serve.