Hallelujah, throw confetti, scatter sushi. Inauguration day around the corner, finally, and time to celebrate. The confetti part comes easily, I’ve been practicing my mental confetti game for eight years now. Scattering sushi is attainable too and I suppose requires some clarification.
Count the ways one might revel and one is with food. I’m trying something new, changing it up like my new Prez intends to do.
A masterful sushi-maker I’m not, but I can learn to scatter it. My husband received a cookbook recently on making sushi – as if, because he loves eating it, he would actually make it. So when I skimmed his new cookbook, which is beautiful, I noticed pages and pages of scattered sushi. Never heard of it. Chirashizushi. No smearing of rice on the seaweed just so, no rolling with a special mat, no fish slicing finesse required. Just deconstruct the sushi and scatter it on the plate. I’m in.
A Recipe for Sushi Deconstructed & Scattered
I have to confess. This turned out to be a slightly frivolous cooking project, more of an art project. As often happens with art projects, I would like to go back and erase a couple of things. That said, we had a blast with this meal, working toward celebration while trying to infuse local/seasonal.
This site has great information from people who actually know about scattering sushi: East Sea Road: Step-by-step Chirashizushi, Scattered Sushi
Directions & Ingredients, more or less: This was my experience. Scattered sushi, Chirashizushi, is what we’ve come to know and love, but deconstructed. You’ll need sushi rice, the essential ingredient. *Cook a potful, directions below, and while it cools gather ingredients that are appealing. Among the classic embellishments to consider in addition to rice are rice vinegar, nori, Dungeness crab, any fresh fish, cooked or raw, Loki’s smoked salmon, wasabi or horseradish, pickled ginger, soy, avocado, toasted sesame seeds, roe, cucumber, radish, carrot, scallions. The egg? I just thought I’d like it with the crab and it was a fine addition.
Assemble ingredients on a plate as artfully as possible remembering that the point is that it taste good. In the cookbook mentioned earlier, Sushi by Lulu Grimes, the author makes a Mediterranean and Teriyaki-inspired sushi. The sky really is the limit. Though rice is the central feature, it’s possible to create a sushi that’s comprised of mostly local, seasonal ingredients.
Once the rice is cooled to room temperature it can be patted into any small vessel to create a tight, organized little shape upon which you can scatter whatever ingredients you like. Or, a few delectable ingredients can be placed on the bottom of a pan lined with large piece of plastic wrap, the cooked sushi rice patted firmly in place on top, the remaining plastic folded over to cover the top which is then weighted down and cooled in the fridge for half an hour or so. Carefully remove the rice from the pan using the plastic as a handle, slice through firmed rice sections and carefully turn over. Whatever you placed on the bottom of the pan, in my case it was crab, cucumber, dill and carrot, is now embedded on top and you have something resembling a piece of sushi (pictured above). With a dish of soy and wasabi on the side this passes as fun and delicious.
Carrot, Celeriac, Radish and Cucumber Slaw Recipe
Ingredients & simple Directions: This side salad was excellent. Finely julienned carrot, celeriac, daikon radish, and cucumber – include cabbage if you like – in amounts of your own choosing. Dress it with mayonnaise and rice vinegar, a touch of soy, whisked together. The seaweed, Nori, is an important sushi ingredient so find ways to work it into the mix as you like, maybe julienned and sprinkled over all.
Confetti is in the air and the heart these days, might as well put some on a plate and eat it.
*Directions for Cooking Sushi Rice: According to the Sushi cookbook (Lulu Grimes): rinse 1 1/4 cups sushi rice in cold water until it runs clear; place in a pan with a scant 1 1/2 cup water and bring quickly to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer with lid on – instructions are emphatic about not removing the lid at all during this time – for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the rice stand for another 15 minutes, keeping the lid on and no peaking. Put cooked rice into a large shallow bowl; using a spatula, very gently toss with sushi rice seasoning so as to keep kernels in tact. (I didn’t have the seasoning so I omitted it.) In order to cool rice to room temperature as quickly as possible fanning is recommended; I put it outside for a few minutes.