Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Deconstructed Sushi Salad

Do you ever eat a maki roll, just to have it fall apart all over your plate? This recipe captures this.Joanne from Eats Well With Others posted a scrumptious looking recipe for a veggie sushi salad. I loved the idea--I've always been compelled to try to make sushi, but have been too lazy. I figure a restaurant can do superior job. This took the complex work out of sushi, maintaining the flavors. I liked the concept of Joanne's recipe, but I changed the flavors to suit my taste. Additionally, it gave me an opportunity to try a sushi salad dressing featured in Moosewood Restaurant New Classics. The dressing recipe is slightly adapted from Moosewood's recipe, and the salad recipe was inspired by Joanne's recipe.

My favorite roll, as I am a sushi poser who doesn't eat dish, is the AAC roll (avocado, asparagus, and cucumber). Because it's not quite the right season for asparagus, I had to modify a bit.

Deconstructed Sushi Salad (serves 4-6) 
Sushi Dressing (makes between 3/4 C-1 C)
  • 1/2 C rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp wasabi powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2-3 tsp minced ginger
  • toasted nori 
1. Mix together all ingredients except nori. Snip the nori into small pieces and incorporate into the dressing. Set aside.

Sushi Salad
  • 2 C uncooked sushi rice
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 4-6 medium shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and diced
  • 1/2 of the dressing made above
1. Rinse the sushi rice several times. Place in saucepan with 2 C water, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 mins, remove from heat. Let steam, covered, away from heat for 10 more mins. Allow rice to cool to room temp or place in fridge.
2. Place the mushrooms in a microwave safe container, cook, checking every 30 seconds, until most of the liquid is removed. This should take about 90 seconds. Be careful not to let the mushrooms burn.
3. Pour half of the dressing over the rice, mix well. Add the mushrooms and cukes, mix well. Dice and add the avocado just before serving, mix well. Serve, with dressing and soy sauce for dipping. Enjoy! Stays fresh for up to 3 days.

Kitchen Notes: I used seasoned rice vinegar, so you may need more sugar or other seasonings to adjust. Real wasabi powder (see below) is far milder than that served in most Japanese restaurants, so if you're crazy about the flavor of restaurant wasabi, get tube wasabi from an Asian market. The original recipes for both Joanne and the Moosewood cookbook both recommend pickled ginger, I used fresh as that's what is on hand.When you initially mix the wasabi and rice vinegar, it will look vile. Don't worry, it won't look like this for long.

                This used real wasabi, rather than the horseradish wasabi we tend to be familiar with
                                                               It's sort of gray

Verdict? I was surprised at how well this approximated the flavor of sushi, minus the tight structure. Unlike traditional sushi, the rice does not dry out very quickly, it remains fresh the next day. This recipe invites a lot of flexibility with ingredients, and would likely be great with fish on top. Dipping each chopstickfull in a bit of soy sauce is simply yummy.

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