Monday, January 26, 2009

Sushi Feast

Saturday night Trisha and I attended a multi-course Asian themed dinner party with three other couples. My contributions were a large sushi platter and a seared sesame crusted tuna appetizer that was served over a spicy Asian vegetable slaw with a blood orange reduction.
We Are Making Sushi...
My fish was special ordered from Dirk at Dirk's Fish on Clybourn in Chicago. My order was shipped out Fedex next day Thursday night and I received in on Friday afternoon. We ordered salmon, red snapper, and two types of tuna. Dirk always does a great job of getting you what you need. I just tell him what I am making, and how many people I need to serve, and he takes care of the rest. Dirk also carries a full selection of any other types of seafood you could be looking for. The fish arrived boxed and packaged within a heavy styrofoam cooler with freezer packs.
<--The fish came trimmed and ready to use.
Cooling the rice before adding the traditional seasoning mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt -->
Tools of the trade-->

Rolling an inside-out California roll
I made a wide assortment of sushi. Pictured are traditional nigiri with tuna, salmon, and red snapper. The rolls consisted of spicy tuna, salmon, California, and inside-out California. I also made a few decorative square rolls (pictured) but they do require a little extra effort. I added a "barrier garnish" to separate the raw sushi from the California rolls, because I was not sure if everybody would be up to trying the raw fish. Of course the tray was served with the traditional accompaniments of soy sauce and wasabi. I am happy to report that we had several people try raw sushi for the first time! Everybody said that it was some of the freshest and best tasting fish they have ever had in their lives.

Seared Tuna with Spicy Asian Slaw and Blood Orange Reduction
For our first appetizer I made seared sesame crusted tuna with a spicy Asian slaw.
I started by making the slaw. It was a mix of finely shredded napa cabbage, red savory, carrots, red onion, bean sprouts, and red peppers. The dressing was a vinaigrette style made with rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.

I made a finishing sauce for the tuna out of the juice of blood oranges. I took the juice of several blood oranges, lime zest, and a few teaspoons of sugar and reduced it by about half over medium heat on the stove. In another saucepan I sauteed ginger and garlic in toasted sesame seed oil until the garlic just started to brown. I de-glazed the pan with a little sauvignon blanc and soy sauce. I then combined the two pans into one and let it simmer until it reached a slightly thicker consistency.
For the tuna, I used the same fresh sushi grade tuna that I used to make the nigiri and sushi rolls with. I started by quickly marinating the tuna in the same vinaigrette used for the slaw, and then crusting it with toasted sesame seeds. It was then quickly seared on both sides on a hot griddle. We removed the tuna from the griddle while the inside was still perfectly rare. I served the tuna family style over the Asian slaw with a light drizzle of the blood orange reduction.

The Rest of the Story...
What really made the dinner lots of fun was that other guests also contributed with their own great dishes as well. Here are details of our other courses.

Egg Drop Soup
Traditional freshly made egg drop soup garnished with green onions.
Pot Stickers with Plum Sauce and Chinese Mustard
Wonton wrapped pork dumplings that are fried and then perfectly steamed.
Beef with Cashews and Snow Peas
Thinly sliced beef sauteed with garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, cashews and snow peas. This was outstanding. For many of us it was the first time we have had the combination of beef with cashews and it went together well.

We finished off the evening with a refreshing homemade lychee nut ice cream and fortune cookies. Everyone enjoyed themselves so much at the dinner that we are already trying to decide what our next theme will be!


  1. I love Dirk's. Even more now that I've seen their delightfully 90's self-made website (with MUZAK!)

  2. I think you have taken the cooking of the Hoffman family to the next level. Jan and Gregg gear up for the competition...gentlemen start your engines.
    John's Mom

  3. Uncle Tom and Aunt LaurieJanuary 29, 2009 at 7:20 AM

    I love Shushi. Remember that!
    Great site, Laurie and I will use some of your recipes.
    Uncle Tom

  4. The sushi was not only beautiful to look at but marvelous to eat! It was my first time at true sushi. The dinner was excellent. Everyone created wonderful dishes for all to share. Eric did a great job at chopping and slicing for other dishes. What a true chef!
    Nancy Christie

  5. Everything was excellent! We all contributed to a wonderful dinner that lasted about 5 hours. It was nonstop cooking and eating. However, I think the sushi was the best I have ever had...Thanks, Eric.

  6. nicely done - I make this often but never such a large quantity---excellent

  7. Wow! Your sushi platter looks fabulous. Despite lessons from my daughter who just came back from Japan I suck at rolling them... LOL

  8. Fantastic sounding meal from start to finish! It's great to find another Michigan foodblogger.

  9. Truly amazing dishes colours and components that are just mouth watering thx 4 sharing