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How to Beef Up the Old Sushi Party

July 11, 2001|ABBY MANDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Although sushi has become popular at cocktail parties, it can be tough deciding what to serve with it. Here's my menu from a recent party for 10 where the sushi selection--and its accompaniments--held center stage.

Beef was obviously missing, so satays were the answer, accompanied with a peanut dipping sauce. Meanwhile, light eaters appreciated the chopped cucumber and red pepper salad in endive leaves. Easy accompaniments were chilled shrimp with chile oil mayonnaise and marinated asparagus.

For colorful presentations, use decorative greens for the platters such as banana leaves or ornamental kale leaves.

Beef Satays With Peanut Dipping Sauce

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus 3 hours marinating

PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup water

3 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons minced ginger root

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Combine the peanut butter, water, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and pepper flakes in a food processor until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a microwave-safe bowl. (This can be prepared 3 days ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

To serve, heat the sauce in the microwave oven, stirring twice, until hot, about 2 minutes. If it's too thick, stir in a little water. Makes about 2/3 cup.

BEEF SATAYS

1 1/2 pounds flank steak, trimmed

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons minced ginger root

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Decorative leaves and flowers, for garnish

Partially freeze the meat on a foil-lined baking sheet (for easier handling). Use a sharp knife to cut the meat crosswise at a 45-degree angle into 3x1-inch strips, about 1/4 inch thick (split thicker pieces). Set the meat aside in a large plastic food bag.

Combine the onion, teriyaki, water, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and brown sugar, then add it to the meat. Work the marinade and steak together until the meat strips are well coated. Chill 3 to 5 hours.

Soak 36 bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes.

Remove the meat from the marinade (discard the marinade) and thread each strip flat on a skewer.

Prepare a medium-high heat barbecue or heat the broiler with the rack about 6 inches from the heat source. Grill or broil the skewered strips until they're almost cooked through, about 5 minutes, turning them once. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn. Place the Peanut Sauce in the center of a large leaf-lined platter. Surround it with skewers. Garnish with flowers. Serve immediately.

10 servings. Each serving: 274 calories; 414 mg sodium; 45 mg cholesterol; 17 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 21 grams protein; 1.08 grams fiber.

Chopped Cucumber and Red Pepper Salad in Endive Leaves

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus 2 hours chilling

Look for chile oil in the Asian aisle of supermarkets or at Asian markets.

1 English cucumber

1 large red bell pepper

2 large green onions

1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger root

3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil

1/2 teaspoon chile oil

30 medium Belgian endive leaves (from about 3 large heads)

Lettuce leaves, for platter

Peel, split and seed the cucumber, then dice it into 1/4-inch pieces. Dice the bell pepper into 1/4-inch pieces. Thinly slice the onions. Place the cucumber, bell pepper, onions, ginger, vinegar and sesame, peanut and chile oils in a bowl. Mix well. Refrigerate, covered, up to 5 hours.

To serve, stir well. Drain off all the liquid. Fill each endive leaf with about 1 tablespoon of salad. (This can be done 1 hour ahead and refrigerated.) Arrange the leaves on a leaf-lined platter. Serve.

10 servings. Each serving: 27 calories; 162 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 0 saturated fat; 3 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.43 gram fiber.

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