If you love sushi but do not have the time or talent to roll maki, you can still enjoy the flavors with this presentation. The bright coral color of the fish makes a stunning display on a buffet, and serving it in individual cups or glasses makes it easy for your guests to enjoy in a cocktail-party setting.
YIELD: 8–10 BITES
MARINATED COLD-SMOKED SALMON
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1⁄4 pound cold-smoked salmon, diced 1 sheet nori, for assembly
Combine oil, vinegar, and cilantro, and mix well. Right before assembling the cup, toss diced salmon in the dressing.
1 cup Japanese rice
1 1⁄2 tablespoons rice vinegar 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Put the rice in a large bowl and wash it with cold water. Repeat washing until the water becomes almost clear. Drain the rice in a colander and set aside for 30 minutes. Place the rice in rice cooker and add 1 1⁄4 cups water; let the rice soak in the water at least 30 minutes more. Start the cooker. After the rice is cooked, let it steam for 15 minutes.
If you cannot find cold-smoked salmon, use baked salmon as a substitute.
Prepare sushi vinegar by mixing rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Put the pan on low heat and heat until the sugar dissolves. Let cool.
Transfer the hot steamed rice to a large plate or bowl and spread it. (Use a nonmetallic bowl to prevent any reaction with rice vinegar. It’s best to use a wooden bowl called sushi-oke, if possible.) Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice and fold the rice using a shamoji (rice spatula) quickly. Be careful not to smash the rice. To cool the rice and remove any additional moisture, use a fan as you mix sushi rice. This will give it a shiny look.
Cut nori into 4 equal pieces 1 1⁄2 to 2 inches wide, then slice into fine strips. Scoop a tablespoon of rice into each cup, scoop salmon on top of rice, and sprinkle nori to garnish.
You can use grilled tuna, grilled shrimp, or any smoked fish, like turbot, wreckfish, or pike.
Warm weather is the best time for this dish. Serve it with a light, fruity Chardonnay or a light sake.