RECIPE OF THE WEEK – VEGETABLE SUSHI ROLLS

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A sushi roll is a great way to serve a variety of brightly colored vegetables.  Though you can choose your favorites, here I feature carrots and avocado, with a little dill pickle for contrast. You can cook the rice and prepare the carrots and pickles in advance (hold off on the avocado, as it will discolor), but assemble the rolls shortly before serving for the freshest flavor and crispiest texture.

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Makes 4 rolls

Ingredients:
Special Equipment:
– Bamboo sushi rolling mat

Sushi Rice (makes 5 ¾ cups):
– 1½ cups (192 g/6.7 oz) uncooked Japanese sushi rice
– 2 cups (152 g/5.3 oz) water
– One 4-inch piece dried kombu
– ¼ cup (60 g/2.1 oz) rice vinegar
– 2 tbsp (25 g/0.88 oz) evaporated cane juice sugar
– 1 tbsp (9 g/0.31 oz) kosher salt

Sushi Rolls:
– 1 medium carrot, peeled
– ½ medium ripe Haas avocado, pitted and peeled
– ½ medium dill pickle
– 4 nori seaweed sheets (about 8 inches square)
– Pickled ginger slices for garnish
– Soy sauce for serving
 

Method:

Make the Sushi Rice:
– Rinse the rice well and allow to drain for 30 minutes.
– Place the rice and water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, add the kombu, and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
– In a small, microwave-safe cup, combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt and heat in the microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds, until the sugar is dissolved. Discard the kombu and transfer the rice to a large glass mixing bowl. Add the vinegar mixture and fold thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture. Allow to cool to room temperature before using.

Assemble the rolls:
– Cut the carrot into rectangles that measure 4 inches long and ¼ inch wide.
– Fill a small saucepan with water halfway and bring to a boil.
– Add the carrot strips and boil for 6 to 7 minutes, until cooked all the way through.
– Cut the avocado and pickle into pieces that also measure 4 inches long and ¼ inch wide.
– Lay out a sushi rolling mat on a work surface so that the slats are horizontal to you, and  place a sheet of nori on top, shiny side down.
– Carefully spread about 1 cup of the sushi rice over the nori, leaving a border of ¾ inch around the edges of the sheet.
– Lay 2 pieces each of carrot, pickle and avocado horizontally across the bottom edge of the rice (the one that is closest to you).
– Starting at this edge, pick up the rolling mat and nori together and roll up the sushi tightly, jelly roll style (don’t roll up the mat with the nori! – just use it as a guide to form the roll).
– Once rolled, squeeze the rolling mat firmly to shape the roll into a solid cylindrical shape.
– Press both ends to make sure that no sushi rice falls out.
– Remove the rolling mat.
– Repeat to form a total of 4 rolls.
– Run the blade of a sharp knife under hot water and cut the sushi logs into 1/2-inch pieces (warm the knife in hot water before each cut).
– Serve the rolls with pickled ginger and soy sauce.

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