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Reprinted from The Edge 2005.2006
Photo by Greg Bailey
Soft-Shell Sushi


Sushi Rice:
• 1 cup Japanese-style short-grain rice
• 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
• 4 tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt

Soak rice in a bowl of cold water, mixing with your hands. As water becomes cloudy, drain and rinse again. Repeat process until water remains clear. Drain rice undisturbed in a strainer for 30 minutes.

Add drained rice and 1 cup plus 3 teaspoons cold water to a heavy mediumsized saucepan. Cover tightly and do not lift the lid at any time during the cooking process. Place over medium-high heat until the rice boils. Turn heat to high and boil for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand, covered for 15 minutes. Remove cover, wrap cover with a dishcloth and return cover to pot. Let stand another 15 minutes. (These instructions are for a gas range. If using an electric stove, change burners instead of attempting to regulate different temperatures.) While rice is cooking, bring rice wine vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan and remove from heat. Add sugar and salt, stir until dissolved, and cool to room temperature.

Place cooked rice in mound in a bowl (preferably wooden) and gently "cut" the rice into sections with a wooden spoon or paddle. Pour vinegar mixture over rice and continue to cut into sections, evenly distributing the vinegar mixture. Cool to room temperature.

Sushi Assembly:
• 4 sheets toasted seaweed (Yakinori)
• 1 avocado, sliced lengthwise in 1/2" x 1/2" batons
• 2 small pickling cucumbers, cut lengthwise in 1/2" x 1/2" batons
• 3 tablespoons finely sliced green onions
• 2 tempura-fried soft-shell crabs, cut into eighths (see preceding recipe)
• 3 cups sushi rice
• Soy sauce
• Wasabi

Spread seaweed on a rolling mat and cover with about 1/2" of prepared rice, leaving space along one long edge. With your finger, make furrows in the rice, into which you will place strips of cucumber, avocado and scallions. Arrange soft-shell pieces lengthwise and roll gently. If the roll does not stay closed, wet the finishing edge. Slice and serve with soy and wasabi.

Greg’s Wine Pick:
Albert Boxler Pinot Blanc Reserve 2001
One of my favorite white wines this year from Alsace, the Boxler starts with such pretty honeysuckle, pear and peach flavors that you initially think it is an off-dry wine. But then the mineral components and crisp acidity bring you back to a low residual sugar before the long honey finish comes into play. All of this is seamless and elegant in a way that only Alsace seems to be able to do consistently. I like this wine with the sushi because the acidity deals well with the wasabi while it develops a fuller mouth weight and aged balsamic vinegar-like richness from the soy sauce.

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