Monday, June 23, 2014

Cheating in the kitchen- Sushi Salad

I'm officially hooked, ok? Hooked!! I knew it was going to happen. First came the California roll, then the Las Vegas roll, the nigiri, the sashimi, the tempura shrimp mango roll. I can't help it! I am in love with sushi! Even worse, I love making it!! But who has the time?

During the summer months I can literally subsist on salads. No cooking! (or very little anyway) and I am always researching things- grains, cooking methods, new ways to make old favorites, updated versions of older recipes, you name it. It was just a matter of time before I tried to figure out a way to simplify this whole sushi-rolling business and come up with a way to enjoy all those flavors on a weeknight without spending hours rolling, and rolling, and rolling. Just..... a matter..... of time.

Actually, it kind of came to me in a roundabout way. Mulling over the ingredients for sushi in my fridge, and dreading the whole rolling thing, but living too far away from a sushi place..... and cruising the internet I came across a website that had salad ideas. VINTAGE salad ideas. You know the stuff- the Jello, the mayonnaise, the peas and shredded stuff. Apparently people used to be quite fond of making rice salads much like the pasta salads I make these days.

Rice salad. Fresh vegetables. Rice..... sushi rice...... SUSHI SALAD!!!!!! It was like the clouds parted and Confucious himself spoke to me! Now this is an idea I can get behind, and talk about easy. 

Let's get started with No-Roll Sushi Salad

You will need:
  • one recipe sushi rice (get directions HERE)
  • 1 lb cooked, cleaned shrimp
  • 1/4 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, seeded and cut in small chunks
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 mango, peeled and cut in small cubes
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cut in small cubes (toss with small squeeze lime juice)
  • nori sheets or fresh kale
  • pickled ginger (optional)
  • 2-3 tb black, or toasted, sesame seeds
  • soy sauce
  • wasabi
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip!!)
  • 1-2 tb Sriracha
Make your rice- Prepare the sushi rice as directed, using rice wine vinegar and sugar. Set aside to cool while you prep the other ingredients.

Prepare the shrimp- thaw if frozen. I used frozen cooked shrimp to save on prep time but you can buy fresh and cook them, just be sure to chill them well. Rinse the shrimp and make sure they are deveined and free from shell bits. Remove tails. If you have small shrimp, leave whole. Larger shrimp need to be cut into bite size chunks. 

Prep all your vegetables- cut up mango and vegetables. If you are using kale instead of nori (and I am, I am NOT a fan of nori really), rinse the leaves well and cut into strips. If you are using nori, crumble up a sheet or two, as much as you like. You can add the nori NOW or wait until later when you serve it, so it doesn't break down and get mushy. 

Assemble the salad- In a large bowl place the sushi rice. Add all the vegetables, shrimp and sesame seed. Toss.

Make the dressing- In a small bowl combine the mayo, Sriracha, a dash of soy sauce and wasabi to taste. If using pickled ginger, finely mince it and add to dressing. Pour about half the dressing over the salad, toss again. Serve with additional dressing, wasabi, and crumbled nori sheets on the side.

It's bright, it's colorful, it's brimming with fresh sushi flavors and I didn't have to spend tedious time pressing, stacking and rolling!I love the sweet mango and the creamy avocado mixing with the crunchy celery and carrots. I needed to amp up the wasabi a bit so don't be afraid to add plenty. Now I can get my sushi fix anytime I want to just as quickly as making a tossed salad.

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