Camellia Sushi

Tsubaki-Zushi

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    25 pieces

Appears in

An American Taste of Japan

An American Taste of Japan

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1985

  • About

Inspired by a classic Japanese winter floral motif—the camellia—I first developed this recipe for a December class taught in New York City. My students wanted a spectacular-looking and -tasting sushi to serve as a first course or offer as part of a buffet for holiday entertaining. The ability to prepare this salmon sushi in advance of their guests’ arrival was an important consideration.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups shari (rice seasoned for sushi)
  • tablespoons wasabi powder (fiery Japanese horseradish)
  • tablespoons cold water
  • 6–7 ounces very thin, broadly sliced, smoked salmon (very lightly salted, rosy-toned salmon is best)
  • 2 yolks from hard-boiled eggs
  • 25 leaves fresh shiso (flat-leafed Japanese herb) OR 25 fresh snow peas, for garnish
  • soy sauce, for dipping

Method

With hands moistened in cold water, divide the seasoned rice into twenty-five portions and shape each into a compact sphere. You could mold the rice with a cloth dampened in water and then wrung out, if you find that easier. Flatten each sphere slightly.

Mix the horseradish powder with an equal amount of cold water and stir to make a paste. Dab some of this paste on top of each rice sphere.

Cut the salmon into twenty-five pieces and drape one slice over each sphere (scraps can be pieced together, if necessary). With dampened hands, compact the spheres well and, with your thumb, indent the center of each piece on the salmon side.

Force the egg yolks through a fine mesh strainer. Fill each indented sushi with some of this sieved yolk.

Rinse the shiso leaves and shake off excess water. Lay them on your serving platter, placing a single camellia-shaped sushi on top of each. Or remove the strings from the snow peas and blanch them for 10 seconds in boiling salted water. Drain and plunge the snow peas into cold water to stop the cooking process. Pat the snow peas dry and slice each in half, on the diagonal. Arrange the two halves so that the points face in the same direction, fanning open the pair slightly. Lay these on your platter in lieu of the shiso leaves. Serve at once, with soy sauce for dipping.