On Father’s Day, some men dream of unlimited rounds of golf. Others of brewpubs. Or hammocks.
But how many fantasize of nearly unlimited homemade sushi rolls?
In our house, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day is when you get to decide every single detail of your day, and my baby daddy wanted us all to see a matinee (Inside Out) and then come home to a great book and nearly unlimited homemade sushi — one of his favorite homemade meals.
I adore sushi too, but I leave the raw fish to the professionals, and when I want to make rolls at home, I simply gather my favorite cooked meats, seafood, and veggies and give it a roll.
Sushi purists have probably clicked off in horror of such blasphemy, but I’m telling you it’s still so good. And easy. And so impressive.
Who doesn’t love a good roll of one kind or another?
All you need are three things: cooked sushi rice (regular rice won’t bind together properly), seaweed/nori sheets of your preferred shape (I used both large squares and smaller snack-sized pieces), and whatever would be appealing to you with those two.
Oh yes — and a little rolling mat! They usually only cost a couple dollars and are invaluable when trying to master that tightly packed roll.
Because it was Father’s Day, I had to pull out all the stops, and gather all his favorite proteins and veggies.
I pulled together roasted salmon from the previous night’s supper, and added in lots of chopped pepper, green onion and a drizzle of sesame oil.
I grilled a flat iron steak medium rare and then sliced it very thinly, topping it with a generous flourish of roasted garlic salt.
I sauteed some shrimp in garlic butter and tossed them with a little cilantro and squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Time to pull together the rest of the ingredients.
I had ribbons of peeled cucumber, fresh basil and cilantro, ripe avocado and lightly steamed asparagus (with a tiny bit of sesame oil for extra flavor).
The rice was cooked and seasoned with a bit of rice wine vinegar for extra flavor and my mat was at the ready.
First up, the salmon roll.
It smelled so delicious that I kept taking bites of the salmon as I composed them; not surprisingly, I ended up with fewer rolls than I thought I would. Alas.
I also made some Napoleons just to see how they would work out. (They looked cute and tasted incredible but were unwieldy to eat. My advice: skip this presentation and just do rolls.)
This one had cucumber and Sriracha — David loves spicy so I made most of them with this delectable sauce.
Next up, shrimp and avocado.
I was glad that I gave my shrimp so much TLC — that extra effort paid taste dividends and each sushi bite was garlicky, limey and juicy.
Last up, the flat-iron steak, asparagus and basil.
I nestled one thick spear inside the rice and under the meat and then sent the roll packing.
Not all the rolls came out as uniformly as this one, but hey, in the end it didn’t matter.
It’s what’s on the inside, right?
At the last minute, I ended up also making a spicy tuna roll, too — just really good canned tuna fish, Kewpie mayo, and more Sriracha and green onion.
Not authentic, but oh-so-tasty.
When I was done making all the rolls, we had tons and tons of them.
I can’t say they were my prettiest batch, but they tasted so fresh and flavorful that we both flipped for them.
My husband’s favorite was a toss-up between the shrimp/avocado or the tuna, and mine was a dead heat between the steak and the salmon, so it worked out perfectly.
We noshed for hours.
My hubby enjoyed homemade lemon drops (his favorite cocktail) and I a great bottle of Oregon Pinot Blanc.
I had made so much that I ate sushi all day yesterday as well — breakfast, lunch and cocktail hour.
Sushi leftovers? Color me crazy happy.
The beautiful thing about homemade rolls is that you can incorporate almost anything that tastes good with rice into them. Try making these with roasted vegetables like squash, eggplant or broccolini. Or grated carrot, green onion and grilled tofu.
I’ve also made these with ginger-tinged chicken, and poached scallops — and on one particularly memorable Father’s Day, cooked lobster with avocado and mango.
Whatever you are cooking one night, make a little extra for experimenting with rolls the next day. You’ll be happy you did.
The other amazing thing to me about making rolls at home is that you can take something that is usually (at least for me) only the rarest of splurges — a blow-out evening at a sushi restaurant — and replicate some of that same pleasure at home.
Catching that inner spike of flavor held together by a cocoon of flavorful, yielding rice and the snap of nori — sublime.
Homemade sushi — coming soon to a picnic basket near you.