Posts Tagged ‘cheater sushi’

I adore Costco. I really do. I could wander that store for hours, strolling up and down each aisle though sometimes I get myself into trouble. I often fall into an all too common trap … buying too much of one thing. Those large industrial packs get me every time. Not long ago I made another classic mistake; I shopped hungry. Bad idea. I was in a very snacky mood and my cart clearly illustrated that fact. It was a perfect storm of questionable decisions.

At the end of an aisle, I saw a big pack of nori snacks, as big as a king size bed pillow. What possessed me to buy a pack of 24, I do not know. Seemed like a good idea at the time. What I conveniently forgot is that I have a very short attention span when it comes to food. Three packs in and I was already tired of them. What to do with the other 21 packs? Ugh. I needed ideas.

Googling random thoughts, I stumbled across something called a “sushi bake”. Sheets of nori, sushi rice, fake krab and a lot of mayonnaise are baked into a very strange-to-me sushi casserole. (And always in a foil pan. Why the foil pan?) Regardless, I do not care for hot sushi and hot mayonnaise just turns my stomach. Revolting. It did, however, spark an idea. What if I just made something fast and easy on those little nori sheets? Quickie sushi without all the work. 

Protein-rice-seasoning on a nori sheet. Easy was the name of the game. I dug around in my magical freezer and found a piece of salmon. Crispy skinned salmon would be perfect. Crispy skinned salmon is always perfect. I cooked it off in the easiest way possible, started in a cold skillet then cooked slowly over medium until the skin is nice and crisp. Yep, perfection. Dug some scallions out of the crisper and sliced them thin. Rustled around the cabinet and found all kinds of Japanese seasonings I forget about – yusho kosho, togarashi, sesame seeds, sansho pepper, shichimi and that sweet soy sauce that goes so well with rice and salmon.

I flipped the switch on the rice cooker and mixed up a little spicy mayo – just a little and kept it cold of course – and a wasabi-soy dipping sauce. When everything was ready, I toasted the nori sheets over my gas burner to crisp them up a bit and made lunch – a bit of rice, a smear of sauce, a bit of salmon, a little piece of that crispy skin, a pinch of sesame and scallion and a shake of whatever seasoning was closest. I ate a half dozen standing at my kitchen counter, assembling new combos along the way. Then I made them again for dinner with the cold leftovers. Mighty delicious. Easy and super quick too. Why have I never done this before?

 Now I only have 20 packs to go.

STRESS THERAPY BAKING FACTOR: ITS SO EASY. Crazy easy. A healthy quick and delicious lunch in 30 minutes. If you’re using leftovers – even faster. And infinitely variable. I used salmon but shrimp would be good or whatever leftover protein you have lying about. Or not; a vegetable mix would be fantastic too. Dig out those sauces and seasonings and use those too. 


serves 2ish

1 salmon fillet, 4-6oz

kosher salt

optional – sweet soy sauce, ponzu, teriyaki

1 package seaweed snack sheets, 8-10 sheets

1 cup cooked sushi rice

optional toppings:

sliced scallions

diced avocado

diced cucumber

diced yellow pickled radish

spicy mayo

wasabi/soy dipping sauce

seasonings – yusho kosho, togarashi, sesame seeds, shichimi

  1. Generously sprinkle salt on the skin side of the salmon and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  2. Assemble your toppings of choice, mix your desired sauces and cook the rice. Set aside until needed. 
  3. Place the salmon skin side down in a cold unoiled cast iron skillet (i.e., not preheated) and sprinkle the top lightly with salt. 
  4. Turn the heat to medium and let the salmon cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the salmon should be opaque at least halfway. Press down lightly with a spatula to make sure all parts of the skin are in contact with the pan.
  5. Continue to cook on medium, skin side down, until the fish is mostly opaque and the skin is crispy, about 5 more minutes. If the skin is still sticking to the pan at this point, leave it for another minute or so – it’s ready to flip when it releases on its own.
  6. Gently flip the fish, then remove the pan from the heat. 
  7. Continue to cook off-heat until just cooked through, about 1 minute longer for regular-sized fillets, but thick ones might take up to 3 minutes more – to check for doneness use a fork to flake the fish slightly; the inside should be a little pink and translucent.
  8. Place on a cutting board and if you like, lightly brush the flesh side with a little sweet soy sauce, ponzu or teriyaki.
  9. Cut or flake the salmon into small pieces, dicing the crispy skin. 
  10. To assemble: If you have a gas stove, lightly crisp the nori sheets over a burner flame by holding a sheet with a pair of tongs and passing over the flame a few times to toast. If not, don’t worry about it.
  11. There are two options when it comes to serving. One is to put everything – nori, salmon, rice, toppings and seasonings – on a platter and assemble little bites, sort of like a taco, as you go. Alternatively, you can assemble several at once but will have to eat quickly as the nori will soften. For a more substantial meal, serve with a cucumber or seaweed salad or alongside miso soup.

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