Have you had enough of preparing enormous amounts of food for entertaining? We all know how drained a party celebration can leave anyone, especially those hosting it or in charge of the kitchen. It’s one thing to love preparing homemade meals for your family, without having to impress anyone with flamboyant decorations and exotic tastes; but cooking for a large number of people, and making sure everything is ready before they arrive, is a very different story.
Since December is big on social events for most people, and certainly for Latinos who give much greater importance to Christmas than to Thanksgiving, I decided to help out a bit with a cool and delicious idea. If you’re running out of creativity for finger food or appetizers made for home entertaining and parties, and want to do something fun and out of the ordinary this year, how about trying some Japanese creations? Your guests will probably appreciate the surprise, and the fact that at least one of the courses on the menu is low on fat and very healthy in general.
To make these easy sushi squares you can use only rice and salmon if you prefer, or add as many fresh vegetables as you like, turning something simple into a rainbow of colors and textures. For example, I used radishes and avocados along with the rice and salmon in the original preparation. But for the leftovers, I quickly fried the salmon, put it back in its place, and then covered it with extra layers of thinly-sliced carrots, and mixed greens. It was a completely different experience, but equally enjoyable, and certainly a better option for those who shy away from eating raw fish.
As any itamae in the world would tell you, the key for good sushi lies in the freshness of the ingredients, and in the proper preparation of the rice. The correct method goes like this: You need to get the special glutinous sushi rice, wash 2 cups of it 3 times in plenty of water (this is to get rid of any excess starch), and then cook it in 3 cups of water, without salt, for 17 minutes. When ready, turn the heat off, let cool a little, and season with the special rice vinegar preparation. This vinegar preparation can be made while the rice is cooking, by bringing 1/2 a cup of Nakano All-Natural Rice Vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil, and then letting this cool to room temperature. Once the rice and vinegar are mixed together (a wooden spoon is best for this job), you must put it in a large dish or container where you can spread out the rice in a very thin layer. With the help of a fan (or magazine), air it until it’s cool. Yes, this may sounds like too much work, but that’s because we’re used to cooking without putting much effort into anything. Let’s face it folks: traditional methods sometimes work better than machines.
Easy Sushi Squares
Sushi Rice with Nakano All-Natural Rice Vinegar (Read post above for directions)
6-8 oz salmon
Mitzukan Ponzu Citrus Seasoned Soy Sauce
Line a chopping board with film, parchment, or a silpat, and spread the cooked and cooled rice all over it. Press it to flatten.
With a mandolin or a very sharp knife, cut the radishes in very thin slices. Cut the avocado and the salmon in very thin slices.
Put a layer of avocado over the rice. Follow with a layer of radishes and a layer of salmon.
With a very sharp knife, cut in squares, pressing the sides with the knife to even out.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve with wasabi and Mitzukan Ponzu Citrus Seasones Soy Sauce on the side.
Disclosure: We give thanks to Mizkan for being a SpanglishBaby sponsor.