Monday, June 2, 2008

June 2: Scattered California Roll With Lobster

I have a fancy-shmancy new job and I couldn't be more excited about it. It is incredibly challenging and very hard and difficult work, but I need the challenge, I want to grow professionally, and it's a really wonderful place to work--smart people doing good work to advance science and engineering. I am an editor working on scientific papers and helping to put together huge, 800-page programs for meetings. So far, I have mostly sat through incredibly complicated and opaque meetings in which a lot of acronyms have been mentioned but not explained. Also, I've filled out a lot of paperwork, and had a grilled-chicken taco salad in a restaurant across the street from my office with my team of co-workers.

My brain is horribly full, and I am exhausted by all of this. I can't stop yawning.

I posted a recipe yesterday, one for waffles, but mysteriously it showed up on March 8th, back when I wrote a draft. Check under the heading "bread" or "breakfast" over there on the right, and you'll see it. Really. I didn't miss a day.

I love that this is like deconstructed sushi. I realize that part of sushi's beauty is the construction, but I am a big believer of form following function when it comes to food, and the function of this salad is to taste good, not look pretty. Also, this is easier than assembling sushi.

Thanks to Food and Wine magazine for this recipe.

Scattered California Roll with Lobster

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups Japanese or sushi rice (10 ounces)
2 cups water
One 1 1/2-pound lobster
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled ginger
2 teaspoons powdered wasabi mixed with 2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
4 radishes, cut into 1-inch julienne
2 scallions, cut into 1-inch julienne
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch julienne
1 ripe Hass avocado, cut into 1-inch julienne
One 8-by-7 1/2-inch sheet of nori (Japanese seaweed), finely shredded

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the vinegar with the sugar, stirring until dissolved. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice with the water and bring to a boil. Stir, then cover and cook over low heat until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Spread the rice on a large platter and toss with the sweetened vinegar. Refrigerate briefly until cool.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the lobster and cook for 8 minutes. Remove the meat from the tail and claws. Discard the intestine in the tail. Coarsely chop the meat and let cool.
Toast the sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar with the oil, ginger, wasabi paste and soy sauce. Season with the sea salt. Add the rice, radishes, scallions, cucumber and lobster meat and toss gently to combine; let stand for 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Fold in the avocado, sesame seeds and nori just before serving.

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