The jolly season busy times continue, as Christmas party season swings into high gear. Today was full of lamb chops, spring rolls, cheese platters, brie en croute and even a larger granite slab of sushi. Sushi, that wonderful Japanese way of eating pickled rice and raw fish has taken the US by storm. A few years ago you had to look real hard to find sushi but now there are usually a few shops in just about every neighborhood around. The varieties of sushi are endless and the preparation is fairly involved so I will save that for a later post.
Today I want to look at how to serve sushi, especially for a party where the presentation is important. When you buy sushi it will come in a roll, generally covered in “Nori” or seaweed. Sometimes the nori is rolled inside the roll like the one pictured below. This spicy crab roll has the nori showing through in the inside. After you get it home you have to cut it to serve it and here is where you get presented with a real challenge. How do you cut it with out tearing it apart?
With the rice exposed you need to slice through this very carefully to insure that it stays together with out tearing the roll apart or crushing it by pushing down on the knife too hard. For this job you need two things; a very sharp knife and leave the cellophane on until after you have sliced it. The plastic will hold the rice in place as you carefully slice and if you are gently holding the roll next to the blade as you slice, it will clean the blade as you go.
A very sharp knife will easily go through the cellophane and the roll using light pressure so you don’t crush it. The knife that I used today is a Shun 10″ right handed slicing knife. It is a single bevel sharpened knife and as my friend who owns it says “The sharpest knife I have ever owned”
Today I used a slab of black granite for my serving ware. Typically sushi is served with Soy Sauce, Pickled Ginger and Wasabi (powdered horseradish). First I made a flower of the sliced ginger and placed it in the middle of the slab and then I set the assorted pieces around the flower. Finally I added little stars of wasabi around the outside of the slab. I apologize for the quality of the photos; they are taken with my cell phone.
The Ginger flower is easily made. Use sushi ginger which you can find at your local oriental store, or even where you get the sushi. It comes in thin slices. Lay out an overlapping row about 6 to 10 inches long and carefully roll it up in a spiral. When you set it on your platter it will spread out and form a flower looking presentation. You can then add individual pieces to increase the petals of your flower. Since they are moist they will stick to the original spiral.
I laid these pieces out flat, if you have too many pieces to fit on your platter you can stack them closer together by standing them up at a 45 degree angle.