“Do you like sushi?” I asked my Fish professor Corky Clark at the Culinary Institute of America.  “If by sushi you mean vinegar-flavored cooked rice, then no, I don’t like it,” said Chef Clark.  I remember his answer from over four years ago, as if he said it to me yesterday.

Well, regardless of your definition of sushi, I love it.  I prefer creative sushi rolls, with large chunks of fresh, silky fish, tobiko, fatty avocado, and exotic sauces.  I am a big fan of the Rainbow roll – a California roll draped with tuna, salmon and yellow tail (I ask to leave the shrimp off).  But I discovered my all-time favorite roll while living in Dallas – the Volacano roll: a California roll topped with scallops that have been coated in spicy mayonnaise and broiled.  My friend Nicole, who tried the roll in my company during her first sushi experience ever, said, “It’s like an orgasm in my mouth.”  Need I say more?

Seattle clearly doesn’t have a shortage of sushi restaurants.  There are plenty of places, some better than others, scattered all around the city.  This weekend, however, we decided to roll some sushi ourselves.  A quick trip to Uwajimaya to pick up fresh fish (salmon and tuna) and a stop at HMart for rice, seaweed, and a few other staples, and we were ready to roll.
Spicy Tuna Roll and Inverted Salmon Roll


1 cup Sushi rice

nori sheets

toasted sesame seeds

cream cheese

wasabi mayonnaise


tuna, fresh, sliced

salmon, fresh, sliced

cucumber, sliced into thin strips

avocado, sliced

soy sauce

wasabi paste

Chenin blanc


plastic wrap

bamboo mat


1.  Prepare rice according to the directions.  Be sure to cool your rice completely before rolling sushi.

2.  Set all ingredients in front of you along with a bowl of water – you will dip your hands into water when pressing and spreading the rice along the nori sheet.

3.  Lay nori on top of a plastic-wrap-covered bamboo sheet.  

4.  For the Inverted Salmon Roll: Spread rice over the nori, leaving just about an inch uncovered and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

5.  Flip the nori sheet on the other side – this will create the inverted sushi roll.  Spread wasabi mayonnaise over nori and arrange tuna, avocado, and cucumbers in line at the bottom of the nori.

6.  Roll the nori, applying even pressure along the length of the roll.  Lightly moisten the edge of the nori with water – it will act as glue to hold the roll together.

7.  For the Spicy Tuna Roll: Spread rice over nori and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Spread cream cheese and top with Sriracha, salmon, cucumbers, and avocado.  Roll as explained in step 6 above.

8.  Set your rolls in the refrigerator until you are ready to slice them.

9.  Slice and arrange on a plate.  Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger, sake (I prefer sake served warm) and/or a glass of crisp white wine (we had Chenin Blanc).

Why so sad, Mr. Artist?  You’ll just have to wait a few more minutes while I finish taking photos of the sushi, and then we can eat!


Teaching points:
~ Taste your rice.  Make sure it’s perfectly seasoned (use seasoned rice vinegar, rice wine, sugar, and salt).
~ Don’t overstuff your sushi rolls.
~ Keep plenty of wet towels around – the sushi-making tends to get quite messy
~ Get your fish only from trusted, reputable sources – if you don’t have one, or don’t want to pay the price for fresh fish, buy smoked salmon or crab instead.
~ Don’t forget a bowl of green tea ice cream for dessert and be sure to sprinkle it with toasted sesame seeds.

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