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QUICK FIX

A Fine Fish Romance

May 07, 1997|ALISA SCHWARTZ | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Sashimi can be eaten with chopsticks or, my favorite way, lifted with your fingers. How romantic: a dinner for two that possesses the rich flavors of the sea and is eaten with your hands.

Sashimi couldn't be quicker to prepare, as long as you shop well. Look for bright, translucent fish. With the sashimi, serve pickled ginger, wasabi and a sesame-garlic dressed cucumber salad. Cool off afterward with mango sorbet or green tea ice cream.

MENU (30 MINUTES OR LESS)

Sesame-Dressed Cucumber Salad

Tuna, Yellowtail and Salmon Sashimi

Mango sorbet

INGREDIENTS

SHOPPING LIST

2 hothouse or European cucumbers

1 small piece ginger root

1 (1/4-ounce) container pickled ginger

2 ounces sashimi-cut tuna

2 ounces sashimi-cut yellowtail

2 ounces sashimi-cut salmon

1 bunch green onions

Shiso leaves

1 (8-ounce) bottle sesame oil

1 (1/4-ounce) package wasabi

1 (1-pint) carton mango sorbet

STAPLES

Cayenne pepper

Chicken broth

Garlic

Rice vinegar

Soy sauce

Sugar

Vegetable oil

COUNTDOWN

30 minutes before: Prepare the cucumber salad and refrigerate.

10 minutes before: Slice the sashimi and arrange on plates.

5 minutes before: Remove the cucumbers from refrigerator. Arrange soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger garnishes. Place cucumber salad on sashimi plates.

SESAME-DRESSED CUCUMBER SALAD

2 cucumbers

Soy sauce

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon ginger root, grated

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 green onion, thinly sliced

Peel cucumbers, halve lengthwise and remove seeds with spoon. Slice 1/2 inch thick.

Combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, rice vinegar and chicken broth. Whisk in sesame and vegetable oils. Add ginger, garlic, sugar, cayenne and green onion. Mix well and refrigerate.

2 servings. Each serving:

213 calories; 1,113 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 17 grams fat; 14 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 2.02 grams fiber.

TUNA, YELLOWTAIL AND SALMON SASHIMI

Most good fish counters sell sashimi cut and ready for serving. You'll get the best quality possible if you have the fish cut to order. You can also buy the fish in larger pieces and cut it yourself. We suggest tuna, yellowtail and salmon, but there are a lot of fish in the sea, so choose what you like. Shiso leaves, wasabi and pickled ginger are sold in the Asian foods sections of most supermarkets and in Japanese grocery stores.

2 ounces sashimi-cut tuna

2 ounces sashimi-cut yellowtail

2 ounces sashimi-cut salmon

2 to 4 shiso leaves

1 (1/4-ounce) container pickled ginger

2 tablespoons wasabi

1/4 cup soy sauce

If fish is not sliced for serving, slice tuna, yellowtail and salmon into 1/4-inch pieces. Be sure to remove all skin. Each piece should be about size of domino tile, 1x1 1/2 inches.

Garnish each plate with 1 to 2 shiso leaves. Artfully arrange tuna, yellowtail and salmon sashimi on top of shiso.

Arrange small pile of pickled ginger and nugget of wasabi on each plate. Serve soy sauce in separate dipping bowls on side.

2 servings. Each serving, without soy sauce:

155 calories; 44 mg sodium; 47 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 9 grams carbohydrates; 20 grams protein; 0.58 gram fiber.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

KITCHEN TIP

Add to your sashimi assortment by making sushi or sushi rolls wrapped in sheets of nori seaweed. Both are quick to assemble, but will take longer than 30 minutes if you're starting from scratch: Cold cooked rice is required. Serve steamed rice the night before your sashimi meal and save some for sushi the next day. If rolling sushi rolls into neat cylinders seems intimidating, try making hand-rolls instead. Lay the sheet of nori in the palm of your hand, spread on some rice, add fish and vegetable garnishes (such as julienned cucumber or radish sprigs), then roll up the nori like an ice cream cone. Black and white sesame seeds can be sprinkled over the top for crunch.

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