I have always been one of those individuals who will try anything once, at least when food is involved. One of my favorite things to eat in the culinary world is sushi, but it is also the one thing I have never even dared tackle in my own kitchen. About a month ago I was checking out at my local grocery store and noticed a young couple behind me. On the belt stacked neatly beside my dividing bar was an entire collection of items they planned on using to make sushi. A thought suddenly poked into my brain; if these 20-somethings could make sushi at home then why on earth could I not do this myself?
I tried not to be obvious as I threw sideways glances in their direction, taking note of all they were going to use-sushi matt, sushi rice, seaweed papers, ginger, veggies and tuna (which was frozen). Hmmm, I think I could definitely do this. Surely if I can bring two healthy children into this world, I can whip up a few rolls in my kitchen, right?
So I decided last week would be the time to try it. My household was sick (I felt the need to wear a surgical mask 24/7), so I knew going out to eat would not be an option. Normally when I cook in the kitchen I tend to go a little rogue. I don’t necessarily follow recipes. I might use them as guidelines, but I always change up ingredients or add extra spices my family likes. But sushi, well, let’s say I didn’t have the guts to fly by the seat of my pants on this one. I needed a recipe, and a simple one.
One of my all-time favorite chefs is Giada de Laurentiis. I love all the fresh ingredients and simple steps she uses to create her dishes. Now that I had thrown down the gauntlet to myself to make this dish, there was no turning back. I fired up my computer, logged onto the Web and searched Giada’s recipes. Aha! I found what I was looking for-salmon hand rolls. Even though I new I was going to switch the vegetable ingredients on the recipe (I had some in my fridge that needed to be used) there were still a few items I needed from the store.
Ingredient list in hand, I perused the seafood section of the store…no sushi-grade salmon (I live in Missouri, enough said). But there WAS frozen tuna, which is what the young couple had purchased for their sushi. I grabbed two small steaks from the freezer and threw it in the cart with the rest of my purchases. The recipe called for asparagus, but I knew I had red bell pepper, carrot and cucumber at home. Why buy more items when I needed to use what I already had in the fridge? I was going rogue on sushi now.
Here was my sushi 101 checklist (rogue-style):
-Frozen Ahi Tuna steaks (about 4 oz each)
-Fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
-Short-grain brown rice (you can also use white rice version)
-Toasted sesame oil
That afternoon, recipe in hand, I julienned my ingredients and cooked the sushi rice accordingly. I defrosted the tuna in cold water in the fridge, which is how you should always defrost your seafood to avoid spoiling the meat. This usually takes several hours, depending on the size of your fish.
Once everything was ready, it was time to start rolling. Sushi matt in hand, I started to assemble my ingredients one-by-one. Giada’s tips were easy to follow and it only took me about 20 minutes to make six or seven rolls. This gave me enough time to pour myself a glass of vino and whip up a quick meal for the kids (they are not sushi eaters).
A few pictures to show you:
I have to give my better half some kudos on this adventure in the kitchen. He loves sushi, but has never ventured to eat the homemade kind. He didn’t even bat an eyelid when I told him what I made for dinner. He just grinned and dug in like it was a plate of steak and potatoes. All in all, the sushi was a success, and now I know I can make my own rolls at home. The world is my oyster when it comes to this area of cuisine…wonder what I will make next?
Not bad, huh? If you are feeling adventurous in the kitchen, here is a link to Giada’s salmon hand rolls:
Even though I changed the ingredients, it gave me a good guideline to follow for my first sushi-making experience.
As I mentioned before, this recipe lends itself for some wine. So here is my wine recommendation to have with your own homemade
sushi. I would opt for a sauvignon blanc when it comes to this type of dish. These wines are crisp and clean, so they won’t distract from the flavors of whatever roll you are making. Even if the sushi is spicy, this is still a great wine to pair. Tyler Florence, in conjunction with Robert Mondavi, has a great sauvignon blanc on the market that only costs between $15 and $20, depending on where you buy it. I found it at my local grocery store. You will taste grapefruit and sweet lemon, but the wine is very balanced and smooth. For more information you can look up Tyler Florence, or visit www.wine.com.
Until next time, cheers!