Welcome back, my friends! Hope you enjoyed our #PetiteSirah tasting at #Copia in the #NapaValley!
Today, for #FlashbackFriday, we’ll zipline across the Pacific to Japan, to indulge in one of my long-time favorite culinary treats – sushi.
Believe it or not, when I first started writing about food and wine, sushi wasn’t even on the radar.
Now, not only do we find sushi bars just blocks apart, vying to invent the coolest, flashiest rolls, but even no-frills supermarket chains – around here at least – all have their in-house sushi stations.
Surprisingly, the word sushi in Japanese has nothing to do with fish, either raw or cooked.
It actually means “sour rice” – referring to the vinegar (with sugar and salt added) that’s mixed into the cooked short-grain rice while it’s still hot.
The sliced fish itself is properly termed sashimi.
Meaning “pierced body” or “pierced meat,” the word dates back 500+ years, to the days of samurai swords.
At virtually every Japanese restaurant I’ve ever been to, most if not all of the fish selections available as sushi are also on the menu as sashimi.
These include maguro (lean bluefin tuna), hamachi (yellowfin tuna) and sake (salmon).
Even various kinds of raw meat or poultry, sliced right, can be called sashimi.
Like sushi, sashimi tends to be quite pricey, because of the need for absolute freshness.
But sometimes, if it’s a choice between spending $25 for a couple of pristine sushi rolls plus a little pitcher of hot sake, or a basic pasta dish and tumbler of house red wine – well, I can make pretty decent pasta myself.
And culturally, the feeling of “going to Japan” for an hour or two makes the cost that much more tolerable.
Well, my friends, it’s just about dinner time – and I have a lovely slab of salmon lined up. This time I’ll be cooking it – cast-iron pan, ghee (clarified butter) – and something like a sake-miso-wasabi-yuzu pan sauce (think sweet, salt/umami, spice, tang).
Meanwhile, should I pour sake with my salmon? Or bubbles (see pix, above)? Why not some of each!
Until next time,
Cheers and happy tastings,
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