Tuesday, February 03, 2009


I was discussing food with two of my coworkers today. One of them, who is normally the type who is willing to try any food, has never had sushi. The other coworker, like me, loves sushi. We explained that sushi does not necessarily involve raw fish. Slices of raw fish are sashimi. The requirement for sushi is actually the style and preparation of the rice. There are many types of sushi that contain cooked fish, or no fish at all. My favorite of the latter type is tamago, that wonderful slice of egg custard bound to the rice with a thin strip of nori. Mmm. But I digress.

We talked about several of the American types of rolled sushi. The California roll is probably the best known, but I'm partial to the Philadelphia roll, which contains smoked salmon and cream cheese. I've also experienced the strange glory that is the Nebraska roll, which features beef and asparagus. We talked about how you can put nearly anything in a sushi roll. And I thought about what I happened to have in the fridge right now, which is not much--just sandwich fixins. But when I half jokingly said I could make turkey and spinach sushi, they both said it sounded good. And so I decided to try it for supper. That thought sustained me through the rest of the workday, and now here I am.

It came out pretty well. I used shaved deli turkey, fresh salad-grade spinach, and a shred of mozzarella string cheese. I call it turkey-maki. The combination of sweet vinegary rice and salty nori is more pleasant in both flavor and texture than bread, so it turns out that I like this much better than a sandwich filled with the same ingredients. Well, okay, in a sandwich, I'd use a slice of provolone instead of mozzarella, but it's the same idea. Although, I think the cheese ended up being superfluous. I may leave it out next time.

Here are the ingredients laid bare. I've been taught two different ways of making rolls, by two different Japanese people (so I consider both "authoritative"). One method is to wet the bare edge of nori with water to seal the roll like an envelope, the other is to make a thin dotted line of rice grains to glue the roll together. Tonight I opted for the latter. Your mileage may vary.

And here are the uncut rolls. If I did this more often, I'm sure they'd be neater. But I haven't made sushi in at least a year, so I'm terribly out of practice.

And here is the final product. Again, if I did this more often, I'm sure they'd be cut more evenly, and the insides would be swirled nicer instead of merely squished as they are. But even if they're not beautiful, they are delicious.

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