Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fork Sushi

Peter's recent blog post about making a wrap with collards inspired our latest meat-free meal. I'm calling them Fork Sushi. That's because no one, not even the most accomplished chop stick wielder, could possibly eat these without a fork. The Swiss chard wrapping I used wasn't big enough to fully enclose the filling and, besides, it's so tender it tears. But, oh, the flavors! This was a big improv success, endorsed both by me and by My Beloved.

The preparation was more involved than most meals I throw together but it was worth the effort. First, I put some brown Massa rice (the best!) on to cook, as per the package directions - it takes about 50 minutes, plus time to cool, so I started that in the morning and let it sit once it was tender. In the afternoon, I dressed it with a splash of rice vinegar, a pinch of sugar and a brief shake of salt heated together just to dissolve the crystals and drizzled over the rice while tossing it to distribute the vinegar mixture evenly.

Then, I sliced, olive oiled and grilled the veggie stuffings on my Jennair grill (if you don't have one, I think a grill pan would be fine or, if you already have the barbecue fired up, that would be even better). Set them aside to cool.

Next, I washed some of my Swiss chard leaves, removed the tough part of the central rib with a sharp knife and sautéed them in a little butter and pressed garlic, just until they softened but were still nicely green. Set them aside to cool.

To assemble the sushi rolls, I spread out a leaf at a time, distributed a small finger of rice along the rib, placed the grilled veggies parallel to the rice, rolled them up carefully (the rice is sticky and the leaves tear easily), then cut them into one-inch pieces to show off the pretty colors within and, sliding the knife blade carefully under them, placed them deftly on the serving plate.

Then, I made a dipping sauce from soy sauce thinned with a splash of water, horseradish mustard (since I had no wasabi on hand), and a tiny grating of fresh ginger.

As I mentioned, the Fork Sushi are very fragile, so slide your fork underneath and lower them into your dipping sauce before popping them into your mouth. Sounds like a lot of hassle but it really wasn't and I'm sure it will be even easier the second time I make them. We will definitely have this again - it was clean and fresh and layered with tasty treats inside, plus a pleasure for the eyes as well as the palate.

Fork Sushi, with a nod to Peter

1/2 cup brown rice, preferably Massa
1 cup water
3Tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

4 asparagus spears, ends snapped
1/2 small yam, peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/4" wide strips
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise into 1/4" wide strips
1 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4" wide strips
2 slices red onion, about 1/4" thick
4 green onions, green part only, blanched
A drizzle of olive oil

6 or so leaves of Swiss chard (mine are only about 8" long - if you use bigger ones, they may wrap more securely around)
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp butter

Dipping sauce

1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp water
1/2 tsp horseradish mustard, or wasabi to taste
1 knob of fresh ginger about the size of your smallest finger joint, peeled and grated, or to taste


Cook the rice as per package directions and set aside to cool - it should be sticky, not fluffy rice. I used one cup of water to 1/2 cup rice. Mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pan and heat, stirring just until the crystals dissolve; don't boil. Drizzle over the rice while tossing to distribute evenly.

Slice the veggies into thin strips of about the same thickness. Toss in a little olive oil just 'til softly shiny. Grill until black stripes appear and the veggies are still crisp but tender. Set aside to cool.

Melt the butter in a wide pan and add the garlic. Cook for a few minutes to soften the garlic, then add the Swiss chard with the washing water still clinging to the leaves. Sauté/steam the Swiss chard very briefly to wilt, tossing the leaves in the garlic butter to coat. Set aside to cool.

When all the ingredients are ready, spread out a leaf of chard at a time, put a finger of rice down the rib and put some of each of the other veggies parallel to the rice, making sure that they are evenly placed so each round will have all the colors and flavors. Carefully roll up the leaves to cover the fillings (I don't have one of those bamboo sushi mats but that might make this process easier). Cut the resulting "logs" crosswise with a sharp knife to reveal the colorful veggies, and place each round carefully (they will want to unroll) on a serving plate. Mix the dipping sauce and sit down with a fork to enjoy.



Blogger Louis la Vache said...

This is sushi «Louis» could eat!
His digestive system goes into full-blown rebellion with even the smell of seafood, and please, don't bring seaweed anywhere near!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010  
Blogger julie said...

zoomie - how brilliant! if you'd ever like to try a yummy vegan mexican place w/me, in SF, i'd be happy to meet you there. it's called gracias madre, at mission/18th...seriously delicious!
- julie from one good nosh

Tuesday, March 23, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

What a holy photo! A Notre Dame stained glass window, good enough to eat.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010  
Blogger Rev. Biggles said...

Hmm, am not sure. I did notice not too terribly long ago your close-up shots weren't blurry anymore. How come they look so much better now?

xo, Biggles

Tuesday, March 23, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Louis, I'm sad for you. I don't eat a wide range of sushi but I do enjoy some of them.

Julie, sounds wonderful! I will set it up with you next time I'm headed to the city. Thanks!

Cookiecrumb, gee, thanks! They were colorful on the tongue, too.

Rev, I found the correct setting on my camera and learned to hold the darn thing steadier! :-) I know, sad. No meat.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010  
Blogger Greg said...

If you knew sushi like I knew sushi. Or maybe that wss Susie. A splendid wrap indeed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, oh, oh, oh, what a girl! ;-)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Greg Massa did a little mention of this post on Facebook. I wonder if you can find it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010  
Blogger peter said...

Collards are definitely stronger than chard. Your fillings are much prettier than mine, though.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, yes, I saw it, since I'm a "fan" of Massa Rice on FB. Made me smile and feel ridiculously rewarded.

Peter, you're too kind. Yours were 'way cool.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010  
Blogger Rev. Biggles said...

Yeah, figured it was a button. These digital cameras can be such a mystery. That's why I like film. Put it in, twist a knob and shoot. No menus, no white balance issues, color space issues, batteries last years without thought. Ahhhhhhhh.

xo, Biggles

Thursday, March 25, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Rev. Biggles, yes, but I love, love, love the instant feedback of the digital cameras! Total instant gratification, yesss!

Thursday, March 25, 2010  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home