making sushi is an art. it’s not one of those things you try doing because it’s cheaper or easier than going out to eat it, and it probably won’t taste better either. making sushi is an experience that i’d only recommend if you enjoy the process. the end result is a bit of a bonus since you can probably go out and buy sushi that’s just as good if not better for a similar price.
all that being said, making sushi is a really fun way to spend an afternoon with a friend and could also make for a creative date. it isn’t easy to do, but it also isn’t beyond the skill set of most people in kitchen. it would definitely be something i’d suggest everyone tries at some point, and hey, maybe you will find you’re the next sushi-making superstar.
we made crab sushi here, but experiment here and make whatever kind of sushi you want. if you are using raw fish though, opt for the best quality you can get. you don’t want to be eating raw fish that isn’t incredibly fresh.
2 cups sushi rice (available in most large grocers, this rice is stickier which is important to allow the sushi to hold together.
seaweed (sold in dried sheets)
2-3 fresh crab legs
1 large cucumber
1 large avocado
handful of sesame seeds
2 tbsp mayonaise
2-3 tbsp white wine vinegar
wasabi, ginger, and soy sauce for serving
sushi mat for rolling sushi
begin by preparing the sushi rice according to the directions on the packaging. once the rice is cooked spread it out to dry a little and toss with the white wine vinegar.
next is to prepare the filling for the sushi. start by steaming the crab legs for 5-7 minutes or until they turn bright red and you begin to smell their aroma. to steam them simply place them in a strainer over a pot of boiling water with a lid on. crack open the hard outer shell and scrap out the fleshy crab meat. set aside.
carefully peel and slice cucumber into long narrow strips, and do the same with the avocado. these will go along with crab meat to fill the sushi.
now it’s time to begin building your sushi. this is the part that’s a bit of an art. we decided to make a double layered rice sushi which is slightly more technically challenging.
lay out the sushi mat and lay a piece of saran wrap over top. place a sheet of seaweed on top. spread a layer of mayonaise on top of the seaweed and then a layer of rice. pack the rice down with your fingers so that it will hold together.
once the entire sheet of sushi is covered carefully flip the seaweed sheet over. this step requires being delicate, but the rice holds together better than you would expect.
repeat the mayo and rice layering on the other side of the seaweed and then top with layers of the filling. how much you pack in at this point will determine the thickness of the final sushi so plan accordingly. ours ended up being a little larger than ideal.
now your sushi is ready to be rolled. this part is a little tricky and will come with time. use the sushi mat to carefully roll the sushi making sure to pull the saran wrap out as you go. use some pressure to keep the sushi entirely stuck together.
once your sushi is rolled you will be left with a log of sushi waiting to be cut into nice sushi pieces. before you do this sprinkle the log with your sesame seeds for an added flavour boost.
to cut the sushi cleanly make sure you have a very sharp knife and get it wet with a little warm water. this will help the knife slice cleanly through the sushi rather than getting stuck. you can cut your log in half and then slice both halves together to try and keep your pieces a more even size.
once all your sushi pieces are cut and ready they can be plated with soy sauce, fresh ginger, and wasabi. we plated our sushi on a block of himalayan pink salt dylan had given to me as a christmas gift.
and there you have it: home-made sushi. like i said above this recipe is a great thing to take on as a project with some friends or a date over an afternoon and feel free to experiment. learning how to make sushi is just the beginning.
mahi-mahi fish tacos
fish tacos are one of those polarizing things. people either love them, or hate them. i am however strongly inclined to believe that the people who hate them, only do so because they haven’t had good ones. this makes sense. bad fish tacos suck. they are bland, boring, or worse - fishy. but when you buy great fish (like local catch), and season them with some awesome spices you are destined for great things. especially when paired with home-made guacamole, chipolte-lime crema, and the always underrated red cabbage.
this recipe is seriously worth a shot even if you aren’t a fish person. but do yourself and your taste buds a favour, and pick up good fish. a good fish-monger or the st lawrence market is a great start. i promise you won’t be sorry.
chipolte-lime crema -
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp buttermilk
1/4 tsp chili powder
juice of 1/2 a lime
few dashes of hot sauce
salt to taste
in a bowl whisk together all ingredients. set aside. can be made ahead and refrigerated. when we were in mexico, they didn’t have greek yogurt, so we used regular yogurt, and while it tasted great, it was a lot runnier than planned.
mahi-mahi fish tacos -
1 lb wild-caught mahi-mahi
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp chipolte chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tbsp oil
1 cup shredded red cabbage
chipolte-lime crema (see above)
2 cup grated cheese (optional)
cut the mahi-mahi into large but manageable pieces. combine the dry spices and salt in a small bowl. stir and rub all over the mahi-mahi. set aside.
prepare lime crema and guacamole if not ready, and set aside.
heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. when hot add the spiced mahi-mahi and cook until crisp on the outside and cooked through. about 8-10 min total, 4-5 minutes per side. flake fish with a fork into the pan.
if you have a gas stove, set burner to low and carefully toast tortillas until browned. this can also be accomplished on a grill. if you can’t toast your tortillas this way, you can toast them in a greased frying pan until they are warm but not crispy. alternatively you can microwave tortillas for 20 seconds.
add guacamole, chopped cabbage and fish to each tortilla and drizzle with lime crema.
bread crumb, parmesan, and herb crusted halibut
what you need:
2 halibut filets (roughly 6 ounces each)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/8 cup fresh parmesan cheese
1 egg (beaten)
handful of fresh herbs (basil, parsley, rosemary, etc.)
preheat oven to 425 F. mix together bread crumbs, parmesan, lemon zest, and chopped herbs in a shallow bowl or plate. season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. dip the fish’s non-skin side into the egg mixture and then press it into the bread crumb mixture. heat an oven-friendly skillet with a little bit of oil until the oil separates but before it starts to smoke.
place the fish skin-side down on the skillet and cook for 3 min. transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 5-6 min (shorter if a thin fillet).
remove the fish from the oven and turn your oven to broil. broil the fish watching carefully to avoid burning for 1-2 min until the bread crumbs become crispy. that’s it, your fish is ready to serve.
the halibut should be moist and barely opaque in the centre when done.
serve the fish on the bed of spinach with some red pepper puree.
seared yellow fin tuna coated in asian dressing and black and white sesame seeds
we mentioned before that we would be including more seafood posts in the future, well we weren’t kidding. this recipe is extremely healthy, delicious and looks so elegant you almost don’t even want to eat it…at least until you have had that first bite.
1 sushi-grade yellow fin tuna steak (we did this as an appetizer to save money so we could get away with a few hundred grams for the three of us - make sure there is enough to cut rectangles from though)
black and white sesame seeds (enough to coat all the tuna)
1-2 tbsp sesame oil
1-2 tbsp soya sauce
one lemon rind
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
to start make sure you pick up the yellow fin tuna from a good fish monger or high quality grocery store. you are not going to be cooking it all the way through so you want to trust the fish quality. next cut it up into long rectangles about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick and wide.
mix the soya sauce, sesame oil, lemon rind and fresh thyme in a bowl. coat the fish in flour then dip it in this sauce then roll it in a bowl filled with the sesame seeds until it is completely covered.
heat up a frying pan with a little olive oil until it is pretty hot. the olive oil should start smoking. sear the fish on all sides but only quickly - about 30-60 seconds a side. the goal here is to quickly toast the sesame seeds and get just the out part of the fish cooked, leaving most of the inside raw.
cut the fish into thin strips. if cooked right it should be white just for the edge of the fish with the rest still bright red. the colour contrast looks amazing so make sure to show it off when plating.
after the drastic decline in north atlantic cod on the eastern coast of canada, atlantic lobster populations boomed as their principal predator had been decimated by overfishing. nowadays, there is more lobster for sale in canada than ever.
here’s a quick way to cook a lobster properly and an effective way to butcher a lobster in order to easily access the meat.
what you need
2 L of water / lb of live lobster
2 tbsp salt / L of water
after adding the salt, bring the water to a vigorous boil. carefully place the lobsters headfirst into the water one at a time. the following are general cooking times for lobsters based on their weight:
1 lb 12-15 min
1.5 lb 15-20 min
2-3 lb 20-25 min
a lobsters outer shell will turn a characteristic red colour well before the meat is cooked inside. tug on an antennae or a walking leg - both will come out easily when the lobster is done. to double check, the meat should be firm, white, and opaque. a cooked lobster will last 1-2 days in your refrigerator. past the 2 day mark, toss it - don’t take the risk!
the best way to prepare a lobster for eating is to remove both of the claws (pincher and crusher) from the body. using a shrp knf, make a harsh cut on the hand of the claw as well as all separate parts of the limb. this way one can access all of the meat in each segment of the limb.
next, remove the tail of the lobster by wrapping one hand around the tail and tearing it off (maliciously) the head. there is no appreciable meat in the head portion of the anatomy and so it can be tossed. the best meat lies within the claws and the tail. remove the tail fins at the rear of the tail.
in order to easily access the tail meat, stick a fork up through the rear portion of the tail where the tail fins once resided. push the fork up towards the large void that once connected the body and tail segments. if this doesn’t work, use a knife at your own descretion.
crispy salmon in a maple and balsamic reduction sauce
what you will need:
fresh pacific salmon fillets, cut into one segment per person (about 1-1.5 lbs/4 people)
3-4 tbsp olive oil
coarse salt and pepper
fresh thyme and rosemary (dill would work well also)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
put oil into a sauce pan (preferably with medium high-sides to prevent spillover) and heat over medium-high heat. place salmon fillets on a cutting board and cover in salt and pepper. rub into flesh. when the oil just begins to smoke, add the fish skin side down and sprinkle with rosemary and thyme.
cook the fish for several minutes skin side down. do not touch the fish as it cooks. watch the side of the fish. salmon it wonderful to cook because you can see how much has cooked as it turns white. once it is cooked about 2/3 of the way through, carefully flip the fish. cook for 2-3 min.
add the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup, and reduce the heat. be careful as the pan is quite hot and likely to splash oil. flip the fish back onto its skin side and cook for 3 min. remove the fish and let stand. crank the heat back up on the pan and reduce the sauce for several minutes.
serve the fish with some sauce spooned overtop. the skin will be very crispy from the oil, and should taste amazing.