Nikkei Cuisine: Salmon sashimi, the South American way
Combining buttery-fresh salmon with big-hitting South American flavours like coriander and jalepeno, this recipe is an absolute showstopper. ‘In this dish, fine slices of sashimi salmon are seasoned with a zingy Nikkei leche de tigre and coriander oil,’ writes Luiz Hara, creator of The London Foodie blog and author of Nikkei: Japanese Food The South American Way (Jacqui Small, £25).
It’s a dish that takes time, and focus to perfect – but, Hara insists, the results are well worth the extra effort. ‘If you have not made coriander oil before I urge you to have a go – this fantastic condiment is easy to make and will add a bright green colour and a refreshing herby flavour to this and many other dishes.’
1 portion of Nikkei leche de tigre (see below)
2 tbsp coriander oil (see below)
400g sushi-grade salmon fillet, skinned
Maldon salt flakes, to garnish
Shichimi pepper, to garnish
For the jalapeno salsa:
½ large cucumber
1 red jalapeno chilli
½ banana shallot
30 coriander leaves, including some to garnish
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lime juice
For the Nikkei Leche de Tigre
(Makes about 125ml)
1 fresh scallop, roughly diced; other white fish can also be used instead)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp minced root ginger
¼ tsp instant dashi powder
100ml (3.fl oz/ ½ cup) lime juice
½ red chilli, very finely diced
1–2 tbsp ready-made Japanese mayonnaise or Japanese-style mayoneizu
For the coriander oil
(Makes about 300ml)
100g coriander stalks and leaves
300ml sunflower oil
1. First, make the Nekkei Leche de Tigre: put all the ingredients except the red chilli and Japanese mayonnaise into the bowl of a food processor and blend until you get a white, frothy and smooth sauce. Let it rest for 15 minutes. Pass the mixture through a sieve (strainer), pressing down to squeeze every bit of juice from the mixture into a bowl.
2. Add the finely diced red chilli and the Japanese mayonnaise to the bowl and whisk until completely blended. Check for seasoning, then chill until needed. This marinade will keep in an airtight container for up to eight hours in the fridge.
3. Then, make the coriander oil: wash the coriander, pat dry on a tea towel and roughly chop. Heat the chopped coriander and the sunflower oil in a small pan over a very gentle heat; warm the oil through until it’s lukewarm and the coriander is wilted, for about 3 minutes.
4. Take off the heat, place the pan in a bowl of iced water to cool it down quickly and so retain the vibrant green colour of the coriander.
5. Now for the main recipe! Once cool, blend the oil and coriander in a food processor until smooth. Transfer the corianderand oil mixture to a bowl, cover it and let it infuse in the fridge for 2 hours, or anything up to 48 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve or a paper coffee filter into a sterilised jar and store in the fridge, where the oil will keep for up to four weeks.
6. Next, prepare the salsa. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and, using a teaspoon, scrape out the watery seeds and discard them. Dice the cucumber into 5mm (¼ in) cubes. De-seed and very finely dice the jalapeno chilli. Peel, remove the stone and dice the avocado into 5mm cubes. Peel the banana shallot and chop it very finely. Place the coriander leaves one on top of the other (not forgetting to reserve a few leaves for garnishing), roll them tightly as a cigar and slice very finely into hair-like strips.
7. In a bowl, put the diced cucumber, the chilli, two-thirds of the cubed avocado (reserving one-third for garnishing), the finely sliced coriander and the chopped shallots. Add the salt, olive oil and the lime juice, mixing gently as you go, then check for seasoning.
8. Remove any trace of brown meat from the salmon. To do this, use a sharp knife and slice off any residual brown meat from the skinned surface of the fillet. Cut the salmon into fine slices – about 5mm (¼ in) thick and 5cm (2in) long. Divide the salmon slices equally among four plates, positioning them side by side like a line of dominoes.
9. When all the salmon has been plated, spoon 3-4 tbsp of Nikkei Leche de Tigre over and around the salmon on each plate. Spread the salsa in a straight line in the middle of the row of salmon slices from one end to the other. Scatter a few of the remaining avocado cubes and whole coriander (cilantro) leaves around the plate and over the salmon.
10. Drizzle a few dots of coriander oil over the fish and plate, finishing with a sprinkle of sea salt flakes and a dusting of shichimi pepper. Serve paired as per Hara’s instructions: with a well-deserved glass of wine.
Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food The South American Way by Luiz Hara is published by Jacqui Small, £25, available from Amazon here