Mediterranean Sushi

Rice recipe makes about 14 seven-inch long rolls
Each roll is cut into 7 pieces

Cast aside all your notions about the traditional concept of Japanese sushi and think creatively around the basic concept that sushi simply consists of a stuffing of a tasty morsel of anything accented with a small amount of picante sauce, surrounded by sticky rice and wrapped with something sturdy enough to hold it together until it reaches your mouth. The Japanese almost always use raw fish as their tasty morsel, a dab of wasabi (a horseradish paste) as the picante sauce and dry (toasted) seaweed as the outer wrapper. But there's no need to limit sushi that you make yourself to those combinations.

Starting with the fundamental sushi technique, we let our imaginations run wild one Sunday afternoon and concocted sushi with Mediterranean flavors (without using any raw fish or seaweed!). We served our Mediterranean Sushi as hors d'oeuvres for a late Sunday afternoon cocktail party. They were such an unbelievable hit that we have now made Mediterranean Sushi a part of our standard cocktail party repertoire.

An assortment of Mediterranean Sushi could also make a lovely outdoor Sunday supper (accompanied by a mixed lettuce salad with a light garlic, sesame oil and rice vinegar dressing) on a warm summer evening or on a Sunday afternoon picnic.

Traditional recipes for making sushi rice describe the "ritual" of aerating the rice with your fingers while fanning it for at least 30 minutes after it's cooked. This is supposed to speed up the cooling and drying and make the rice kernels light but sticky. I've found that you can make perfectly acceptable sushi rice without all that fanfare. This may sound heretical to authentic Japanese cooks, but after all. . . we're making Mediterranean sushi!

The only special tool you'll need is a sushi mat to roll the sushi and the only special ingredient you'll need is short-grain sushi rice. The rest is up to your imagination.

Making the Sushi Rice:

2 cups raw sushi rice
2 cups cold water
6 TBS. rice vinegar
2 TBS. sugar
1 tsp salt

Assembly Procedures and Techniques:

It will take some practice to get your sushi roll looking right. Don't be discouraged if your first few rolls look a little lumpy and clumsy. If you plan to serve sushi at a cocktail party and haven't made sushi before, make a trial batch the week before to develop your rolling technique. After one session, you'll be rolling like a pro!

The following instructions may seem awesomely complex. It's hard to explain this process in words, but after you try it once or twice, you will see how simple it is.

Choices of Wrappers, Stuffings and Sauces:

Let your imagination run wild! The only suggestion is to aim for a progression of flavors. If the stuffing you choose is mild, then the sauce should be one step up. But if the stuffing is strong flavored, then the sauce should be one step up from that level.

Wrappers   Stuffings   Sauces
Romaine lettuce   Smoked chicken   Tapenade
Chard leaves   Smoked salmon   Aioli
Smoked salmon   Smoked trout   Red pepper puree
Prosciotto   Smoked sturgeon   Tomato coulis(reduced)
Mortadella   Melon   Curry mayo
Egg crepe   Cooked sausages   Lemon zested mayo
Spinach crepe   Asparagus   Orange zested mayo
Large mustard greens   Mango   Basil pesto
Smoked tongue   Sliced snow peas   Asian pesto
Corned beef   Ripe pears   Honey mustard
Carpaccio   Anchovies   BBQ sauce
    Sardines   Blue cheese
    Cucumbers    
    Sun-dried tomatoes    
    Shrimp meat    
    Crab meat    
    Green onion (chopped)    
    Salmon roe    
    Chopped pine nuts    
    Chopped raisins    

Here are some of our favorite combos:

Wrapper Stuffing Sauce
Smoked Salmon Green onion and salmon roe Coriander pesto
Chard leaves Smoked chicken and sun-dried tomatoes Aioli
Romaine lettuce Asparagus and mango Lemon-zested mayo
proscuitto Melon none
Prosciutto Ripe Pears Blue cheese
Chard leaves Grilled Chicken BBQ sauce

Notes:

Soko Hardware
1698 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
Telephone: (415) 931-5510

If you are using any of the meats or smoked salmon, it's not necessary to overlap these as much, but some overlap is still necessary so that the individual strips will stay together when rolled. Don't use very thinly sliced meats or fish. Try to get them specially sliced a little thicker than usual -- but not to thick either.