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by Heather Harris Brady
Sushi originated sometime before the second century A.D., when people in parts of China started wrapping fish in rice to preserve it via fermentation for later meals. At first the rice was discarded, until some thrifty soul ate the whole thing. This technique spread to Japan, and in the 1600s people started adding rice vinegar to the rice and serving it as-is. Heaven knows I did not grow up in a sushi-eating household, although we did eat a lot of other interesting pickled things both animal and vegetable.
Sushi is a fun project and it’s easy! The first thing you need is the proper wrapping:
One package will make a LOT of sushi. The sheets are beautiful, with the fresh smell of the sea:
The second thing you need is rice, and it needs to be sushi rice. If you’re a country dweller like I am you can often find this in the bulk section of food co-ops, or in the Asian aisle of your grocery.
California Rolls, Makes three rolls – about 24 pieces of sushi
- 3/4 lb. cooked king crab legs, cleaned
- Half of one avocado
- Half of one cucumber
- 1-1/2 c. sushi rice
- 3 T. rice vinegar
- 2 T. sugar
- 1 t. salt
- Soy sauce
- Pickled ginger
Wash the rice gently in a strainer until the water runs clear. Then combine it in a pan with 2 c. water and leave it to soak for 30 minutes. (You can also use a rice cooker for this part.)
Turn on the heat and bring the rice to a gentle boil. Cover the pan and cook for about 12 minutes. The rice should be just tender and the water will be absorbed. Spread the rice out in a bowl.
Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Microwave it for about 30 seconds and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Pour the vinegar over the rice and mix it through gently with your fingers. Set it aside.
Clean your vegetables. Cut the avocado into thin strips and the cucumber into thin matchsticks. I did some zucchini too, because when it’s your sushi you make the rules!
A bamboo rolling mat is nice. You don’t have to spring for a “real” one. You can use a bamboo placemat, part of a windowshade, whatever as long as it’s impeccably clean. Or, you could use a dry piece of parchment paper.
Lay out one sheet of the seaweed.
Spoon out one-third of the rice and pat it into a thinnish layer. Put some of the crab int the center. Make sure you’ve pulled out all the pesky bits of cartilage.
Lay the vegetables next to the crab.
Pick up the edge of the mat and fold out the outside (long) edge over the filling. Tuck the ends under with your fingers then roll the mat up. Press down lightly as you go to seal the edges.
When you roll the mat back you will have a lovely California roll.
I made these in the afternoon, about two hours before dinner, so I wrapped them in waxed paper and put them in the fridge. I like my sushi really cold.
When you’re ready to serve unwrap the rolls and cut them into eight slices. I cut them in half first, and then cut each half in half until I have eight even pieces.
Arrange them on a plate so everyone can admire your handiwork.
Serve the sushi with the pickled ginger on the side and little cups so people can mix the soy sauce and wasabi to their liking.
by Heather Harris Brady
Earlier this year in California I had an amazing plate of pasta – achini de pepe and crab in an alfredo sauce. It was all things it should be – thick, rich and luxurious at the point where it left rivulets of butter on the dish. But one can’t live like that every day, so when we got home I developed this recipe using the same ingredients but turning them into a bright summer salad with a lemon vinaigrette.
Summer Crab Salad, Serves eight as a side dish
- Four ears of fresh sweet corn
- 1/2 of a red pepper
- 1/3 c. diced onion
- 3/4 lb. of achini de pepe pasta
- 2/3 c. shaved parmesan
- Meat from one lb. of king crab legs
- 2/3 c. olive oil
- Juice of one lemon
- Cayenne pepper
- Old Bay Seasoning
- Cracked pepper
Cook the pasta, drain and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil to keep it from sticking together. Set aside.
Cut the corn off the ears and set it aside.
Saute the pepper and onion in a saucepan with 2 T. of olive oil on medium heat.
When the pepper starts to soften, add the corn and cook it until crisp-tender – about 10 minutes.
When the vegetables have cooled to room temperature, combine them with the pasta.
Fold in the crab.
Combine the oil and lemon juice in a separate bowl and whip well with a whisk. Add in the seasonings.
Toss the salad with the vinaigrette and cheese.
Adjust seasonings to taste. Chill thoroughly, at least three hours, before serving.
This salad would be delicious as a stuffing for fresh tomatoes. Keep it cold at all times. And once in a while, if you feel like subbing in an alfredo sauce for the cheese and vinaigrette, your secret’s safe with me.
One year ago: Baby Back Ribs with Dry Rub
by Heather Harris Brady
After a convincing victory last night by the Seahawks we’ll wrap this little Super Bowl series with Seattle Salmon. The rub is based on a recipe in Smoke and Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. If you have time, by all means smoke the salmon with the rub. Either way this dish is sweet and easy to love, just like Seattle itself.
Seattle Salmon, Serves Four
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. dried dill weed
2 T. kosher salt
1 T. fresh ground pepper
2 lb. fresh salmon fillets
Combine the first four ingredients and mix well.
Pack them on top of each fillet (I’m using wild caught sockeye salmon here.). Return the fillets to the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (and up to overnight).
The rub will start to glaze the top of the fish.
Preheat the oven to 400 and lightly grease a baking sheet. Put the fillets on the sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until nearly cooked through. Turn the oven up to broil and broil for 3-4 minutes, until the topping is bubbly.
One year ago: Homemade Potato Chips