Early November is menu-planning time. What are we going to serve at Thanksgiving and all those parties and special meals we’ll be enjoying through New Year’s? If you’re like me, I’m often challenged with new ideas for appetizers — things that I really want to eat. Being a nutritionist, I’m also always thinking about healthy eating but not at the sacrifice of good taste.
So I’m pleased to bring you today’s recipe from the talented Elle of Elle’s New England Kitchen. She captured my thoughts so perfectly, I’m just going to quote her directly. “Just picture these on a buffet table, next to the heavy, cheese and cream filled morsels. Not that those aren’t amazing in their own right, because they are! But you want a little variety, right? Something to lighten the palate and not cover it with a greasy film…ugh. Plus, if you’ve got vegetarians or vegans coming to holiday parties, they like to eat, too.”
This may look a little complicated but it’s really more assembling than anything else. A couple make-it-easier tips from Elle: She ordered the rice and pickled ginger from a local sushi place. You can also get wasabi there.
Mock Sushi by Elle
Adapted from AlaskaSeafood.org
Serves 24-36, depending on the size of your cucumber
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespooons mayonnaise (or Vegenaise)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoonWasabi paste
1 tablespoon sugar (or agave)
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 cup canola oil
Kosher salt to taste (taste first–Elle didn’t need any salt!)
2 orders of sushi rice, or about 3 cups cooked sushi rice
24 slices seedless cucumber, sliced into 1/8 inch rounds (the peel adds crunch)
24 pieces thinly-sliced avocado
Julienned carrot strips, about 1″ long
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
To make the Wasabi mayo, add all of the sauce ingredients, except the canola oil, to a blender. Blend them well, then with the motor running, add the oil in in a stream to emulsify it. Set aside. If you’re not using it right away, refrigerate it. It makes more than you need (1 1/2 cups), so you can serve some on the side for dipping, if you wish–though it may be a bit messy to dip these.
Set out the cucumber rounds.
Add a small amount –about 1/8-1/4 tsp of Wasabi mayo to each cuke slice. Too much, and your toppings will slide off.
Pat the prepared rice out on a non-stick surface–we used a large ziploc bag — and cut rounds out of the rice using a biscuit cutter the same size as the cucumber slices (Elle used a cough syrup dosing cup like this [enlarged to show detail] because she didn’t have a biscuit cutter).
Place the rice circles on the cukes. Top with an avocado slice each one, then add a few carrot strips and the pickled ginger. Top each with a bit more of the wasabi mayo, then sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
More tips from Elle:
- There’s no reason why you couldn’t use the salmon that’s in the original recipe, or any other fish that you’d like. Just cut the pieces to fit.
- The original recipe also has nori (a type of dried seaweed) strips placed on top as an option–you may want to try that.
- If you’ve got a local Asian Market, black sesame seeds are amazingly inexpensive there!
Do you have a favorite appetizer recipe to share?