I couldn’t make a good sushi roll if my life depended on it. I’ve tried numerous times, never happy with the results. Mine are always a mess. The rolls never seem to stay together [sigh]. Every so often, I have a momentary memory lapse and decide to give them another go. And, each and every time, I arrive at the same conclusion, “This is the last [insert profane language] time I’m ever attempting to make sushi rolls!”
But a deconstructed sushi roll, that I can manage. That’s easy. Just pile your favorite sushi-inspired ingredients into a bowl. Of course, you need a sauce or dressing to tie it all together (more on that in a bit).
Here’s what went into my sushi bowl:
-Quinoa (or rice, brown or white)
-Microgreens (any variety); Grow your own, refer to this post for step-by-step instructions
-Crispy shallots (shallots fried in olive oil until crispy)
-Fried quail eggs, so cute (or substitute chicken eggs)
-Bonito flakes — dried, aged, and smoked tuna (tastes better than it sounds)
-Thinly sliced scallions
-Toasted sesame seeds
-A sprinkling of the Japanese spice mix Shichimi Togarashi would be a nice addition.
-You can’t have a sushi bowl without fish, right? So, there’s some raw and seared tuna as well.
Of course, add or subtract whatever you like…perhaps, chives, cilantro, edamame, thinly sliced cucumber, other seasonal veggies (like asparagus, spinach, or even fresh fava beans when they’re around), salmon, scallops, shrimp, etc.
All drizzled with a lovely vinaigrette. Keep reading to find out.
The dressing is a yuzu vinaigrette made with yuzu kosho. Have made this dressing for several dinner parties and it’s always a big hit, light and refreshing.
Let me tell you a bit more about these ingredients.
Yuzu is a Japanese citrus that tastes like a Meyer lemon that met a mandarin orange that met a grapefruit. It has a brightness and tartness to it that are unlike any other citrus. Did you know that a yuzu has 3 times the Vitamin C as a lemon?
Yuzu kosho is a Japanese paste made from green or yellow yuzu zest, green or red chile peppers, and salt.
Unfortunately, yuzu is not easy to find. I’m lucky in that there’s a tiny Japanese market (that doubles as a travel agency, lest you have a sudden urge to book a plane ticket to Japan while grocery shopping) close by where I can find these ingredients. In the absence of easy access to a Japanese market, I suggest the below substitution using more readily available citrus.
While there is no exact substitution for the unique yuzu flavor, alternatively you can use equal parts [Meyer] lemon and grapefruit juice or a combination of grapefruit and orange and lemon if you can’t find Meyer lemon, and a pinch of cayenne for the yuzu kosho. These substitutions yield a vinaigrette with a slightly different flavor profile. Nevertheless, the resulting vinaigrette is tasty, tangy, and refreshing when combined with soy sauce/tamari, olive oil, and finely diced shallot.
The photo below is yuzu kosho — yuzu zest + red chile peppers + salt…
楽しむTanoshimu (“Enjoy” in Japanese; at least that’s what Google says.)
Deconstructed Sushi Roll
The possibilities are limitless, here are a few suggestions:
Quinoa (or rice, brown or white), cooked
Avocado, sliced or diced
Watermelon radish, thinly sliced
Microgreens (any variety); or, grow your own, refer to this post for step by step instructions
Sheets of Nori, briefly toasted over an open flame, on a gas stove (10 seconds or so), cut into strips
Crispy fried shallots (shallots, thinly sliced, and fried in oil until golden brown and crispy)
Fried quail eggs, so cute (or substitute chicken or duck eggs)
Bonito Flakes — dried, aged, and smoked tuna (tastes better than it sounds)
Scallions, green parts, thinly sliced on a bias
Toasted sesame seeds
Fish/Seafood of your choice (seared, raw, or cooked)
A sprinkling of Shichimi Togarashi
Yuzu Vinaigrette (recipe below)
To crisp the shallots: Thinly slice (3 large) shallots. Pour 1/4 inch of [olive or grapeseed] oil in a high-sided, medium skillet. Heat over moderately high heat until hot, but not smoking. Fry the shallots, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are golden brown and crispy. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt.
To assemble the sushi bowl: Distribute cooked quinoa or rice amongst bowls. Top with assorted toppings and drizzle with vinaigrette.
makes about 1 cup
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons *yuzu juice
2 tablespoons, finely diced shallot
3 tablespoons soy sauce/tamari
1 teaspoon yuzu kosho (or pinch of cayenne)
Whisk all the ingredients until well combined.
*Note: If you can’t find yuzu, substitute equal parts [Meyer] lemon and grapefruit juice or a combination of grapefruit and orange and lemon if you can’t find Meyer lemon, and a pinch of cayenne for the yuzu kosho.
For those of you in the D.C. area, I find both yuzu and yuzu kosho (along with many other interesting items) at Hana Japanese Market at U and 17th.