Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sushi

I have a deep, dark secret that I'm about to reveal to you. Gather close, because I don't want this to spread too far outside my circle of readers. Ok, ready?

I made sushi this weekend.

Oh, that's not the secret! This is:

I was inspired by Rocco DiSpirito. 

Ack! I know! But as I was reading the transcript of a conference call with the man, I noted that several people mentioned his A&E show, Rocco Gets Real, which I had never seen. So I checked out a couple of episodes on the A&E Web site. And what do you know - Rocco didn't seem like a giant assclown. He's actually nice to the poor saps who have kitchen issues, and is certainly not as annoying as Tyler Florence in his Food Network version of basically the same show. One episode, "For the Ladies," had Rocco demonstrating basic sushi rolls, and that got me to thinking, "damn, I wish I hadn't stored that pack of nori on the kitchen cupboard." Because now that nori is living behind the cupboard, having slid off at some point. Happily, a trip to the Safeway was all I needed to get another package of the toasted seaweed paper into my hands again.

Here are Rocco's recipes. I wasn't about to shell out $ for sushi-grade tuna (if I could even find it around here), so I used small shrimp that I first cooked in a tiny bit of sesame oil (the residue left in the pan after making the mushrooms, actually) and then chopped into pinky-fingernail-sized bits. I added sliced avocado to the shrimp rolls, and also skipped the soy/vinegar/mirin part of the mushroom filling, using a pinch of salt instead.

The filling creation was easy enough, but rolling the sushi proved to be more difficult than it looked. In the video, Rocco used a half-sheet of nori, to produce the petite Japanese-sized rolls that I prefer. I did the same.

Rice-topped nori sprinkled with sichimi togarashi
Shiitake mushrooms and avocado arranged on the opposite side.
Unfortunately, my sushi rice came out a bit too sticky, despite rinsing it 8 times and using the ratio of rice to water recommended by my rice cooker. It was hard to spread to the edges of the nori. It's also hard to judge how much is too much as far as filling is concerned - every roll I attempted preferred to ooze filling out at the seam rather than to seal nicely.

Ugly sushi rolls.
I produced three rather messy rolls before I gave up. We ended up topping the sushi rice with the shrimp and vegetables and eating it with chopsticks. It tasted really quite wonderful. It just wasn't sushi. And of course I blame Rocco for leading me on.

Oh, I'll try again someday, but maybe I should just stick to hand rolls. :)

Posted by theminx on Minxeats.com.