Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Japanese omelet and smoked salmon avocado sushi だし巻きとスモークサーモン、アボカドちらし寿司

One weekend evening, we had a series of small dishes with sake as usual. Among others, I prepared marinated tuna or maguro-zuke. The next day I saw the container I had used for the tuna in the refrigerator and thought 'we must not have eaten it last night because we were too full." So, in great anticipation, I planned to have tuna-zuke donburi ま ぐろ漬け丼 for dinner. But when I opened the container, there was no tuna inside--just the marinade. I asked my wife where the tuna was. She said she didn't know about the tuna in the container but we had eaten tuna the night before and, by the way, it was really good. I asked why she put the container back in the fridge when there was no tuna in it? She told me that she didn't know tuna was involved with the container but she did know, from experience, not to throw out any liquid in a container she may run across while cleaning up, whether or not she knew what it is used for. So, I had to change gears and make something else, especially since (at my request) my wife had prepared freshly cooked rice for the marinated tuna dish.

Since we had half an avocado (left over from the tuna and avocado cubes I made the night before) and smoked salmon, I decided to make this smoke salmon avocado scattered sushi. To make this dish more interesting, I decided to add "dashimaki" だし巻き or Japanese omelet. I have previously posted variations of dashimaki.

Dashimaki: This is a regular item in Izakaya and sushi bar*. "Otsumami yokocho" also have the recipe (volume 1, p64) but this is a rather standard affair and I made it in the way I usually make it. Although you could make this in a regular round frying pan, to make the omelet in a proper rectangular shape, you need to use a rectangular frying pan. I have a small home-cook version with a nonstick surface as seen below. 

*Especially in Kyoto, dashimaki appears to be extremely popular. We found stores in Nishiki market 錦市場 specialized in all kinds of dashimaki variations. In the morning, in one such store, we saw 5-6 cooks lined up shaking large square pans up and down making dashimaki to be sold for the day. Many Kyotoites appear to just come and buy these large rectangular omelets.

I used brown eggs (3 large), dashi broth (3 tbs or 1 tbs per egg), sugar (3 tsp or more if you like it sweet) and salt (a small pinch). I mixed all ingredients using cooking chopsticks. In a square frying pan on medium-low flame, I add vegetable oil (1/2 tsp) and add the egg mixture (just enough to cover the bottom in a thin layer. As the bottom sets but the surface is still wet or uncooked, I start rolling from one end using chopsticks and/or silicon spatula (If you are a dashimaki Jedi, you use only chopsticks). You repeat this several times and keep rolling. It is important to lift the already cooked omelet so that the new egg mixture will flow under it. For my pan, three eggs makes a perfect rectangle omelet which is even with the height of the pan's edge (left lower). I press against the vertical rim to make the two long ends straight. Here is a visual aid by a pro.

Since my omelet was near-perfectly formed, I did not have to use a sushi bamboo mat to shape the omelet. On the right above, you can see the cut surface with multiple layers.

Sushi Rice: As usual, I used sushi vinegar from the bottle. I added as much as the rice would absorb. I let it sit for few minutes after the rice was lightly mixed while the rice was fanned (by my wife). 

I sliced the omelet into one inch thick slices and then cut each slices in diagonal. I placed them on the vinegared rice as seen in the first image. After placing slices of smoked salmon, and sliced avocado, I added a small mound of real wasabi and sprinkled soy sauce on the avocado. I garnished it with nori strips. Marinated tuna would have been better but this is a mighty good "shime" 締め.

...and also as a starter dish for the next evening.

Traditionally this is served with grated daikon. Add a little soy sauce when eating. The side is my drunken tomatoes and cucumber dressed in sushi vinegar.

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