There’s never been a better time for silent protest in the form of comfort cooking! Food writer and cookbook editor Leyla Moushabeck documents the culinary contributions of America’s formidable immigrant community. Our collective palate has never been richer or more robust, and we owe it all to those who came from abroad. Dive into this dense tapestry of deliciousness, and start with Japanese chef John Sugimura’s cured seared salmon on rice.
At least $5 from the sale of each book will be donated to the ACLU to support the immigrants’ rights project.
- 4 ounces sushi-grade salmon fillets (loin if available), skin and bloodline removed
- Iodized salt, for curing
- 3 inch square dashi kombu (dried seaweed), wiped with a damp towel
- 1 cup medium-grain rice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 inch square dashi kombu, wiped with a damp towel
- 2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sake
- 1 teaspoon tamari
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- Pinch Japanese bonito flakes
- 1 daikon radish, peeled and finely shredded
- Small handful thinly sliced purple cabbage
- 1-2 thick scallions, sliced diagonally
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- Pinch Japanese black sesame seeds
For the salmon on rice
Transfer the salmon to a small bowl and evenly sprinkle with iodized salt. Cover and refrigerate for 2½ hours to cure. Rinse under cold water and pat dry.
Make the nikiri sauce: Place the dashi kombu in the base of a small pot. Add the soy sauce, sake, tamari, mirin, and bonito flakes. Heat over low heat until small bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pot, just before the mixture simmers; then remove from the heat and steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a bowl and set aside to cool.
About 30 minutes before you’d like to serve, cook the rice: Place the dashi kombu in the base of a small pot. Add the rice, and 1¼ cups (300 ml) water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to very low. Simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is soft, 20 minutes.
Combine the salt, sugar, and rice vinegar and mix well until the salt and sugar dissolve. When the rice is cooked, fluff with a fork, and pour in the vinegar mixture, mixing well.
Heat the broiler to high. Divide the nikiri sauce between two bowls. Remove the salmon from the fridge and cut it into ½ to 1 inch (1 to 2 cm) cubes. Place the fish in a small oven-safe sauté pan and generously brush with the nikiri sauce from one of the bowls. Place under the broiler until lightly charred, 5 to 6 minutes.
Divide the rice between serving plates. Pile the radish and purple cabbage next to the rice, and top the rice with the salmon. Arrange the scallions and avocado slices on top, and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Serve the remaining bowl of nikiri sauce on the side.