Two-Toned Caviar Sushi

Ni Shoku-Zushi

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    30

    bite-size pieces

Appears in

Sushi bars throughout Japan and America serve a wide variety of nigiri-zushi, which are compact ovals of rice on which a fresh slice of fish, such as tuna or fluke, is draped. Fish roes, which are also marvelous eaten with sushi rice, need a collar of paper-thin seaweed to keep them balanced atop the rice. This recipe makes colorful pairs of fish roe sushi—large red globes of salmon caviar and smaller crystalline globes of golden whitefish caviar. Both varieties are garnished with a bit of bright green cucumber to make the final presentation even more dramatic.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups shari (seasoned rice for sushi)
  • 5 full sheets yaki nori (paper-thin toasted seaweed)
  • 1 small (about 3-4 ounces) slender Kirby or other unwaxed cucumber
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon wasabi (Japanese horseradish) powder
  • scant 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 4 ounces ikura (red salmon caviar)
  • 4 ounces golden whitefish caviar
  • soy sauce for dipping, optional

Method

  1. Divide the rice into thirty portions. With damp hands, mold each portion into a compact oval-shaped nugget, or use the mold.
  2. Cut each sheet of nori into six strips, each 7½ by 1½ inches; 30 strips in all. Stack these in a dry location.
  3. Make thirty cucumber “fans”: Wash the cucumber well without bruising it, since the green skin will be eaten. Slice off the stem (darker) end of the cucumber, and rub this piece in a circular motion over the cut end of the cucumber, to remove what the Japanese call aku, or bitterness, which appears as a white foam. Rinse the foam away and trim off the other end of the cucumber. Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds. Place each cucumber half, flat side down, on a chopping board. Lay a disposable wooden chopstick on each side of one cucumber half to keep the knife from slicing all the way through. With a very sharp knife, make as many extremely fine slits in the cucumber as possible. Repeat the procedure with the other half. Sprinkle salt over the slit sides, then gently rub it in to wilt the cucumber halves. A wavy pattern should appear. Rinse the cucumber halves in cold water and pat them dry. Slice each half lengthwise, to yield four slits sticks. When you press on the slits, the cucumber will fan out. Cut out thirty pieces, each with five to eight segments to its fan. Each of these will be used in a single sushi oval.
  4. Mix the horseradish powder with the cold water to make a paste. Dab a bit of this paste on top of each rice oval.
  5. To form each piece of sushi, take an oval of rice and wind a single strip of seaweed around it to make a collar, much like a soufflé collar. Seal the end of the nori with a grain or two of rice.
  6. Lay a cucumber fan in the corner of each oval. Fill the remaining space with caviar; fifteen pieces should be filled with red salmon roe, and fifteen pieces with the golden whitefish caviar.
  7. Serve on a large hors d’oeuvres tray, or as pairs on a small plate as a first course to a large meal. Serve soy sauce on the side, if you wish, for dipping.

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