Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
So I was asked to make an appetizer for an Easter Sunday dinner for a large crowd. After pondering over the situation for a while I thought, “How about doing vegetable temaki from my omakase dinner at Nobu 57?” I remembered the dish being:
Butter lettuce, shiso, shredded carrot, shredded cucumber, sprouts, avocado,
Nobu: The Sushi Book provides a recipe for a lemon hand roll (p. 47) that I could use as a template for the temaki. Each roll calls for 4 to 5 thin sticks of cucumber, and I thought I’d add a near equal amount of shredded carrot rolled into a half sheet of nori. But how to make the sesame miso dressing? Well, using the white miso dressing from Nobu’s Vegetarian Cookbook (p.164) as the template, I manage to adjust the dressing to:
1 T sesame paste/tahini
2 T white miso
2 T sesame oil
1 dab of grated garlic (1/2 t)
1/2 t soy sauce
6 T rice vinegar
8 T grapeseed oil
Using Nishino’s sesame vinaigrette recipe as a guide,
I assembled the garlic, miso and
sesame paste with the rice vinegar to make the dressing base, corrected the dressing with a little soy sauce and then added the
the sesame and grapeseed oils to make the dressing fluid.
Once the dressing was done and set aside, I turned to preparing the salad components of boston bibb lettuce leaves (which would serve as an ‘salad envelope’ between the rest of the salad ingredients and the sushi nori (a way to prevent the nori from getting wet). So for now, the salad would be composed of the lettuce, shredded cucumber and shredded carrot).
In the case of the cucumber, I only needed half of it which I peeled and julienned (as best I could)
and tried to get it down to 2″ lengths to fit into the temaki.
Fortunately, I had some leftover shredded carrot from a meal a day or two before which I marshalled into the preparation.
So now, I was ready to assemble the temaki. Into a Boston bibb lettuce leaf I laid in a generous amount of cucumber and shredded carrot that would fit when the leaf was closed up into a roll.
So when I rolled the leaf, I tried to do it in such a way that the ‘seam’ side would face down on the cutting board. I did this in order to try to keep the salad ‘roll’ closed before I transferred it to the half nori sheet to complete the temaki.
So into each half sheet of nori would go one of the salad ‘wraps’, placed on a bias, the large top facing the upper left.
Cutting the sheet of nori would have to be done horizontally across the pre-indented markings on the nori sheet so that I would be rolling the temaki with the grain of the nori sheet.
Before completing each temaki, I needed to make a little cooked rice available as a ‘glue’ to ‘fasten’ the temaki closed. Once I finished rolling the salad wrap within the nori, I would dab on some cooked rice to the top right corner at the end of the sheet to
make sure the temaki stayed closed.
At that point I could place them vertically into a serving vessel, a cup, a tall shot class, etc and then drizzle in the sesame miso dressing into the temaki; making sure the dressing stayed within the lettuce confines.
My wife and I thought the flavors of the vegetable temaki were pretty close to what we had at the restaurant with the nori remaining nice and crisp. My wife made the observation that she thought it needed a little more sesame paste. So that’s what I’ll do next time: 1 more tablespoon of sesame paste added to the dressing.
Update: I recently remade this dish with 2 more tablespoons of sesame paste and that seem to make the sesame flavor ‘speak up’.