Sunday, October 24, 2004

There once was an Ugly Duckling...

IMBB # 9 - Layers and Layers

Sam, what on earth possessed you to spend all that time making a terrine that has the appearance of an ugly, withered, old leather boot? I can't pretend I am not disappointed in the way it looks from the outside. But I am reminded of the Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Ugly Duckling. It might appear unpromising but I believe it has great potential.

Can we open it up and take a look inside? Hey! It's not an operation you know! We aren't doing a scientific dissection. But I can cut you a slice if you'd like to try it. Here goes...

click on the image to enlarge

Whoa, that's a pretty close up picture. I can't work out what I'm looking at. Do you have a picture taken from a more conventional, terrine-centric point of view? Well, if that's what you think will show it off better...

click on the image to enlarge

So tell us, what is it exactly, and where did you get the recipe?
It's a "Spicy Tuna Sushi Terrine". I am afraid there is no recipe. It is a creation entirely of my own invention.

Where did you get the idea from? A few months ago I threw a little party for a Spanish friend who was returning to live in Europe. All the food I made for her bash was Californian and I tried to create a layered "California Roll Salad" with fresh crab meat, avocado and seaweed. It tasted very good, but it ended up looking like a big mess, the layers collapsed and the structure was lost. I remembered thinking at the time, it would have been better if I'd made it as a terrine instead. I wanted to try it again and this month's challenge offered me the perfect opportunity.

Why tuna instead of crab this time? Fred doesn't like 99% of fish or seafood. But he is slowly getting used to the idea of raw tuna. I thought if I made a tuna version, he might at least try it. As it happened he loved the spicy tuna mix and the avocado, but he couldn't bear the seaweed, so he ended up picking all of the choice bits out from his slice of terrine.

click on the image to enlarge

So, how did you make it?
It's really pretty simple. Cook up 2 cups of Sushi Rice according to the instructions. Leave to cool. Convince yourself you need to buy a Le Creuset, Poterie Stoneware, Loaf Pan in white , perfect, too, for trying all the other terrine recipes from this month's IMBB. Line the Pan with Pacific Sushi Nori sheets. Face the shiny side of the seaweed out towards the pan surface. Try not to let the pieces tear. Cut to fit the ends but let the pieces overlap by a long way. This will strengthen the outer shell of the terrine. The seaweed will be dry and crisp at this stage but as soon as you start filling it, it will dampen and the layers will meld together. Thinly slice a 1/2lb piece of Sushi grade Tuna into strips, across the grain. Mix together with a dash of lemon juice, plenty of salt to taste, a generous shake of dried red chili flakes and a finely minced green onion. Begin to build up your layers. I started with rice. Wet your hands before working with the sticky sushi rice, and press it down hard into the bottom of the terrine. Liberally sprinkle Eden Shake Sesame and Sea Vegetable Seasoning over the rice before covering with a sheet of Nori cut slightly larger than to size so that it overlaps with the edge of the terrine. Next layer the Spicy Tuna strips more Nori, then rice and Eden Shake. The next layer is one Avocado. Cut into thin slices and packed tightly so there are no gaps. Squirt with a little lemon so the avocado will keep it's colour. Finally, one more layer of rice and the sesame seasoning before drawing together all the overlapping sheets of sushi over the bottom of the terrine to make a neat parcel. Simple as that. Serve with Soy Sauce and wasabi.

click on the image to enlarge

Really, Sam, just as simple as that? Well, there are a few tricks you learn along the way. A bowl of water at one side, is essential so you can keep wetting your hands in order to handle the sticky rice. Keep adding Nori to the structure, especially as you see shrinking of the seaweed occurring. The terrine is very malleable and repairs can easily be made afterwards, by cutting 'fixit' strips of Nori, dampening them, and then papering them over any gaps or tears. Cutting the terrine into slices isn't easy. I found that a serrated bread knife did the best job. Eat as soon as possible after creation.

Fred didn't care for it much - so Sam -you finished the whole terrine by yourself? No, I took it along to a party yesterday evening. Coincidentally, the very first reveller there to pounce on it was someone who works for the same company as I do, who I have learned is also a friend of Derrick from "An Obsession with Food" , the very foodblogger who set this challenge in the first place. It's such a small world sometimes...

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There once was an Ugly Duckling...


  • At 25/10/04 06:54, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is amazing! What a perfect idea...I am very impressed...and quite tempted to "steal" this recipe from you in the very near future. I am a HUGE sushi fan. Thanks so much!

    Jennifer -

  • At 25/10/04 11:34, Blogger Cerebrum said…

    What a fantastic terrine! Very impressive and lovely!

  • At 25/10/04 20:25, Blogger Sam said…

    Thanks! Jennifer, steal away - I would suggest you use two avocados if you make this. I think a little less rice and more avocado would have been even better. More fish too, perhaps, but at over $20 a lb that would make it a little more pricey to make. (I used a medium sized avocado - maybe one large one would do it too)

  • At 25/10/04 21:30, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a fantastic idea Sam! Sushi terrine! Now you've made me hungry! Cheers, Viv

  • At 25/10/04 23:10, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That looks wonderful - very creative! A smaller version would be great to serve as a mystery appetizer. Perhaps you've come up with the next big sushi trend!

  • At 26/10/04 10:42, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oooh! what a good idea! just mouth watering...



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