On Wednesday, we got a lovely piece of Salmon from our local friendly fishmonger. We covered it in coarse sea-salt, black pepper, lemon zest and green tea leaves and an insane amount of dill. We wrapped it in muslin and put a heavy weight on top before leaving it the fridge to work its magic. All we had to do, was
A) not eat it before Friday and
B) remember to turn the fillet every 12hrs.
Come Friday, we washed off the crust, gently dried it with kitchen paper and we had the most tasty, amazing Gravadlax. To serve we simply gave it a drizzle of lime juice. The beauty was that we could use this amazing dry cured salmon for our sushi... which brings us onto tapas dish no. 2.
This Maki roll made using the cured salmon mentioned was a joy to eat. Self praise is no praise I hear you chant – well I didn’t make them, Miss Saltysquid did and they kicked butt. For the sushi rice, buy good quality Japanese or American sushi rice. Rinse and soak the rice until the water is clear. Cover the rice - we used 6 cups, with water, and then another little bit and cover. Soak for 15 min. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat, allowing the rice to simmer for about 20 min. Take it off the heat and steam for another 15 min. As the rice is short grain, it becomes sticky when cooked, exactly what we need for making sushi! While the rice is cooking, make the sushi vinegar (sushi-zu).
Next place a sheet of dried seaweed (Nori) on a sushi mat. Spread some of the cooled sushi rice, covering about 1/3 of the Nori sheet and line with cucumber, cured salmon and thinly sliced carrots and roll as tight as possible without breaking. Give your sushi roll a little press once rolled. Once this is done, simply slice the roll into your desired thickness and in case the rice sticks to your knife, wipe the last one with some rice vinegar water from time to time. Serve with soy sauce, Wasabi and pickled ginger. I found wearing a white head band adds to the authenticity.
California Rolls are a kind of inside-out Sushi (Uramaki). Typically these are filled with crab and avocado. Firstly cover your sushi mat with cling, followed by a layer of Nori, rice, sesame seeds and another layer of cling – in that order. Be careful that the cling film is not trying to sneak into the sushi roll like some sneaky sneaker that likes to sneak out a snickers while wearing sneakers. Think of it as a really bad, wrong Asian lasagne... actually no, don’t. Now, press down on these layers and flip over, leaving the sushi mat behind. Remove the layer of cling that is facing you. Carefully spread some wasabi then the filling of sliced avocado, carrot and crab meat, which we also mixed with a home made wasabi mayo. Roll carefully again making sure that the bottom layer of cling is not trying to sneak into your California roll like an uninvited guest at a party. Once rolled, press again a little and remove the cling. You should have a beautiful roll staring at you. Slice again to your preferred thickness.
Japanese breadcrumbs are amazing. I love the crunch you get from them. Personally I don’t think there is any substitute for that rough, coarse batter. I got a lovely squid from our local friendly fishmonger.
I cleaned the squid tubes and scored the skin with a sharp knife. I then cut the tube into rings and soaked it in milk, paprika and black pepper for a few hours. When their time came to serve their duty, I tossed them in some flour, seasoned with salt and a truck load of black pepper. Shake off the excess flour and drop into some egg whites, then into the breadcrumbs, which I gave an additional sprinkling of black pepper. Drop into hot oil, turning as they cook for a few minutes, just a few at a time. Keep the cooked ones warm on a plate covered with kitchen paper. Season with a pinch of salt as soon as they come out of the hot oil. We served them with our home made wasabi mayo and a wedge of lime. Happy birthday indeed!!
Fresh salmon fillet (with skin) €9.00
Fresh squid €2.50
Japanese breadcrumbs €2.00
Japanese Sushi rice €2.60
Rice Vinegar €4.00
Cucumber, Carrot, Avocado, Dill €3.00
Crab meat €6.00
(Budget x 2, 'cause last week no tapas, B-day, etc...)