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  • Writer's pictureChef Eric

Spicy Cold-Smoked Salmon, Cucumber, And Ginger-Rice Roulade

Classic ingredients with a twist! These rolls explode with flavor— smoky salmon and zingy ginger create an unexpected cohesion of flavor, while the cucumber adds a fresh crunch. YIELD: 12–18 BITES  SPICY SALMON 1 1⁄2 teaspoons mayonnaise 1⁄8 teaspoon sriracha sauce 1 1⁄2 teaspoons thick hot chili sauce, or to taste 1⁄4 pound cold-smoked salmon, diced 3 sheets nori, for assembly

Stir together the mayonnaise, sriracha, and hot chili sauce in a bowl. Add the diced salmon to the bowl, turning it over to coat it well. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

CUCUMBER SAUCE 1 cup plain yogurt Juice of 1 cucumber 2 tablespoons olive oil Juice of 1⁄2 lemon Salt and pepper to taste 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill 3 cloves garlic, peeled 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

Combine all ingredients except sesame seeds in a blender and mix until smooth. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and refrigerate until ready to use.

GINGER RICE 3 cups Japanese rice 1⁄3 cup peeled and grated fresh ginger 1⁄3 cup rice vinegar 3 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt

Put the rice in a large bowl and wash it with cold water. Repeat washing until the water becomes almost clear. Drain the rice in a colander and set aside for 30 minutes. Place rice and ginger in rice cooker and add 3 1⁄4 cups water; let rice soak at least 30 minutes more. Start the cooker. After rice is cooked, let it steam for about 15 minutes. Prepare sushi vinegar by mixing rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Put the pan over low heat and heat until the sugar dissolves. Let cool.

Transfer the hot steamed rice to a large plate or bowl and spread it. (Use a nonmetallic bowl to prevent any reaction with rice vinegar—it’s best to use a wooden bowl called sushi-oke, if possible). Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice and fold the rice using a shamoji (rice spatula) quickly. Be careful not to smash the rice. To cool the rice and remove any additional moisture, use a fan as you mix sushi rice. This will give it a shiny look.

ASSEMBLY: Center one nori sheet on a bamboo sushi mat. Wet your hands and use them to spread a thin layer of rice on the nori; press it down. Arrange one-third of the salmon in a line down the center of the rice. Lift the end of the mat, and gently roll it over the ingredients, pressing gently. Roll it forward to make a complete roll. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut each roll into 4–6 slices using a wet, sharp knife. Serve with cucumber sauce on the side.

CHEF’S NOTES: When rolling, lightly wet the edge of the nori to seal the roll. To slice, use a sharp knife, not a serrated knife, which will tear the roll.

If you don’t have a juicer, peel and seed the cucumber, and whirl it in a blender to puree.

VARIATIONS: This can also be made with tuna.

BEST SEASON: This is perfect in spring and summer with a Pinot Noir or a light beer.

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