Scattered Sushi with Lobster

Robusutā no Chirashi-Zushi

Scattered Sushi is a dish found more often in homes than in restaurants in Japan, particularly this kind of pilaff-like tossed arrangement. Cooked, pickled, and fresh ingredients are mixed with tartly seasoned cooked rice, then garnished with colorful shreds of paper-thin omelet, vegetables, and seafood. In Japan, large platters of Scattered Sushi are brought out to celebrate or commemorate a special event or holiday. This lobster version would be perfect in the summer, perhaps on the Fourth of July.

Ingredients

Garnishes

  • 3-4 ounces fresh snow peas
  • 6 small or 3 large Paper-Thin Omelets
  • 2-3 tablespoons drained and shredded beni shōga (red pickled ginger)
  • cooked tail meat of -pound lobster, cut into ¼-inch-thick medallions
  • tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 3-5 cups shari (seasoned rice for sushi)
  • ½-⅓ cup chopped cooked lobster meat (claw and legs)
  • 1½-2 tablespoons drained and finely minced amazu shōga (pink pickled ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon ao nori (sea herb flakes), optional

Method

  1. Snap back the stem of each snow pea to remove the string. In a small saucepan bring several cups of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Blanch the snow peas for 5 seconds, then drain them and refresh them under cold water. Drain again, and pat the snow peas dry. This can be done an hour or so before serving time. Just before serving, slice the snow peas slightly on the diagonal into thin julienne strips.
  2. The paper-thin omelet can be made and refrigerated many days in advance of serving. Just before serving, cut them into narrow julienne shreds.
  3. The red pickled ginger should be well drained of its bottled liquid and set on paper towels to avoid staining plates or cutting boards.
  4. In a clean dry skillet, roast the sesame seeds over medium-high heat for about 45 seconds, or until they pop or color ever so slightly.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the seasoned rice with the toasted sesame seeds, chopped lobster meat, and pink pickled ginger. Sprinkle the sea herb flakes over the rice, too, if you want a more pronounced seashore aroma. Toss gently but thoroughly after each addition to make sure all is well distributed.
  6. Lightly mound the rice mixture on a large plate or tray (12 to 20 inches in diameter). Do not let it mound higher than inches. The dish can be assembled to this point 3-4 hours in advance of serving, as long as you cover it snugly with clear plastic wrap and keep it at room temperature, away from extremes of hot or cold.
  7. Have all the sushi garnishes ready and waiting on separate plates; the yellow omelet shreds, the red-and-white lobster medallions, the green snow peas, and the shredded red pickled ginger. Just before you serve the dish, garnish the sushi: Scatter the egg shreds over the rice to cover the mound completely. Scatter, at random, the lobster meat medallions, then the snow peas, so that the yellow of the egg shows through. Mound the red ginger at the center of the plate. Serve at room temperature.

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