Monday, January 23, 2006

Sushi Dinner: My most amibitious dinner so far.

Last Saturday I made dinner for my wife, My brother in law and his girlfriend. For Christmas I gave him a coupon and a menu for a free dinner sushi dinner that I would prepare. Saturday he redeemed it.

On the menu:

Miso Soup, Salad (with a vinegarette made from soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, dashi, and a bit of oil) and Gyoza (potstickers, we didn't make these fresh, just opened a bag) Superwoman prepared these items, and did an especially fine job on the dressing for the salad.

I decided to make four kinds of Sushi:

"The Super California", something I created, (though I am sure there are rolls like it all over the US under different names) consists of your basic California Roll elements, Crab (imitation for me, cause I'm poor.), Avacado and cucumber. I also add large shrimp, celery and a bit of mayo (mayo is for the imatation crab to moisten it up just a bit) to the roll which takes it from haso-maki to futo-maki(small roll to a large roll). Then I cut the roll into halves and dredge it in tempura or panko (panko this time) and deep fry the halves. When I have someone trying sushi for the first time, I will serve this roll first. This roll is very American, comforting my guests with the familiar taste of fried shrimp while introducing them to the sushi rice and nori. Both my Brother in Law and his GF were trying sushi for the first time, and the GF was especially nervous about trying something new. They both loved the rolls. Hooray two new converts. They were both exited for some more. Very exiting!

"Fried Halibut" was next on the menu. This is a haso-maki roll with deep-fried Halibut, breaded with panko, and wrapped up with avacado. I deep fry the fish for as short as time as possible, searing the outside, cooking the panko, and making the inside of the fish warm and juicy. This is another great roll for sushi beginners. A "fish stick" in a roll, is a second layer of comfort. Its also a great roll for people that "don't like fish". Usually good quality fish that is cooked right will bring people around. For the presentation I tried a beveled cut. I didn't get a picture of the presentations but it looks quite nice. I'll make it again and post a picture of it.

"Golden Roll". Smoked Salmon and Mango wrapped inside out. On the outside the roll can have tempura flakes, but I put on sesame seeds this time. This is a really rich flavored roll. One or two pieces is usually enough for most poeple. The presentaion on this one wasn't bad. I need a sharper knife so that I don't tear the roll apart. The shape is a little off, and you can see strings of mango that the serated edge of my knife caught and pulled out. Normally a sharp one sided knife is used for sushi, this type of knife doesn't have a serated edge. Serated edges will catch and tear the nori, catch the rice and move it and do a number of other bad things to a roll or piece of fish. A good quality sushi knife will probably be my next sushi related purchase.

"New Yorker" A steak filleted very thin and wrapped up with carrots and topped with deep fried carrot slivers. One of my favorite rolls. This can be tricky because the steak is rolled right against the Nori. Its hard to get enough of the fat off that it doesn't ruin the Nori. I don't think I got quite enough of it off. And I don't think I deep fried the carrots long enough (but I had a taste of the roll a good deal after it served, giving the nori and carrots time to soften, and be mushy.) Here is a shot of that.

Desert is what I am the most proud of. Check it out.

The dish got bumped just before I snapped a picture of it. So the presentation is a little of center. But I thought the dish looked great. The Kanji on the left is "wife". I made one for my brother in law "dragon", and for his girlfriend "beauty". If you look closely you can see the kanji is on wax paper. This was my first attempt at a chocolate kanji and I used chocolate syrup. I thought if I froze it for a day that it would harden (I prepped these about a day in advance). I was wrong. Next time I'll use melted chocolate chips, So I can get it off the paper onto the plates.

Well I'm still an amateur, that's obvious, but the taste and presentation of my dishes are coming along. I was quite proud of this meal. Especially that I was able to completely change somones perception of sushi.

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