Sushi is one of the most beautiful and intriguing foods in all of the world. Its beauty lies in its pure and simple flavor, not to mention the sometimes wildly artistic, geometric forms that it can take. This recipe is one that I made up back when I was afraid to prepare recipes calling for raw fish. In most cases, I'd still rather leave that up to the experts! The combination of smoked salmon and asparagus may seem like an unusual filling for sushi, but it is actually very delicious. Though not traditionally thought of as an appetizer, the small, compact shape of these rolls make them the perfect finger food to serve at parties. They are also a great way to start off any Japanese meal.
Sushi Elliemay
Miso Soup
Stir-fried Soba Noodles with Ginger, Spinach, and Shiitake Mushrooms
Cucumbers Marinated in Rice Wine Vinegar


2 cups japanese rice
2-1/2 cups water
a 2 inch piece of kombu (optional)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 spears of asparagus
8 ounces smoked salmon
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 medium avocado
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
4 sheets of nori
soy sauce
pickled ginger

Cooking Instructions

Place the rice in a bowl and cover with water. Stir the rice aggressively with your hand and then drain. Do this several times until the water runs clear. Add the rice and 2-1/2 cups of water to a saucepan and let soak for about 30 minutes. Place the pot on the stove, add the piece of kombu and bring to a boil slowly over medium-high heat. When it reaches a boil, remove the kombu, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for an additional 10 minutes.

Mix together the vinegar, sugar and salt. Scoop the cooked rice out into a large bowl and pour the vinegar dressing over it. Stir rapidly to cool the rice and incorporate the dressing evenly. Cover the bowl with a cloth while you prepare the other ingredients.

Steam the asparagus spears over boiling water for a few minutes until they become slightly tender, but are still a bright green color. Set aside to cool. Shred the smoked salmon and mix it with the mayonnaise in a small bowl. Cut the avocado into thin slices.

Arrange the rice, salmon mixture, vegetables, sesame seeds and nori in your workspace. Spread a bamboo sushi mat flat in front of you. Place a sheet of nori, shiny side down, onto the mat. Using wet hands, spread 1/4 of the rice evenly onto the nori, leaving about 1/2 inch of nori uncovered at the bottom and 1 inch uncovered at the top. Place 1/4 of the salmon mixture onto the rice and form it into a uniform "log" or row running across the rice, about 1-1/2 inches from the base. Place 3 spears of asparagus immediately next to the smoked salmon. Place a few slices of avocado next to the asparagus. Sprinkle the rice and filling lightly with 1/4 of the sesame seeds. Starting at the base, lift the mat, the nori and the rice together and begin to fold it over the filling. Continue rolling (taking care to avoid rolling the bamboo mat into the roll!), keeping the roll as tight as you can and making sure that the filling is completely encased by the rice and nori, until the entire roll is completed.

Allow the rolls to sit for about 10 minutes before slicing. Using a very sharp knife, cut the rolls into 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick slices. Serve the sushi with a little soy sauce poured into a small dish, and some small portions of pickled ginger and wasabi on the side.

Makes 4 rolls, about 8 pieces each



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elliemay's blog

You can find bamboo sushi mats in asian grocery stores and some supermarkets. They are a necessity when making sushi as your nori will almost certainly tear if you try to roll it without the mat.

If your hands become sticky when spreading the rice, be sure to re-wet them. Likewise, if you have difficulty slicing the rolls, wet the knife slightly. That will help keep it from sticking.

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