I clearly remember the creative challenges I faced when I first began entertaining as a newly-wed.
Inspired by my gourmet cook mother-in-law, I was determined to impress with my domestic prowess, but budgetary constraints meant that I had to choose my menu with care.
Virtually every guest that graced my dining table in that first year of marriage, was treated to my signature dish of curried chicken 'n walnuts wrapped in a filo pastry parcel, and for good reason.
Apart from the fact that this winning combination was a culinary hit every time, the recipe called for just 2 chicken breasts to feed 6 to 8 people, and this frugality had definite appeal.
Fast forward more than two decades later, and I'm still careful with my culinary budget, especially in Israel where food costs are exorbitantly high.
I'd recommend you make this spectacular Deconstructed Sushi Salad even if you had to break the bank to do so, but the fact that you use just 300 grams of salmon to feed at least 6 lucky diners, is a definite bonus.
Start the New Year off in style by including this wow appeal dish as part of your Rosh Hashanah festivities, and I'll bet it will become a staple when entertaining.
Stuck-in-a-rut cooks shouldn't allow themselves to be scared off by what may appear to be exotic ingredients, as sushi rice, rice vinegar, pickled ginger and nori are now easily available at all regular supermarkets, and they're remarkably affordable too.
In fact, for the price of a single platter of sushi at a restaurant, you can feed a crowd, and cement your reputation as a domestic goddess at the same time.
Chag sameach to all and happy cooking.
A STYLISH NEW YEAR DECONSTRUCTED SUSHI SALAD
2 cups sushi rice
5 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Squares of nori seaweed
Thinly sliced cucumber strips
Flaked Asian glazed salmon
Thinly sliced carrots
Toasted black and white sesame seeds
Asian Glazed Salmon
300 grams fresh salmon fillets
2 spring onions, finely chopped
4 tablespoons Kikkoman Soya sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
TO PREPARE SUSHI RICE
1: Wash and drain rice and place in pot of cold water to cover for 30 minutes.
2: Place soaked rice and water on the stove, bring to the boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes, then cover pot, reduce heat to a minimum, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
3: Remove from heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes still covered.
4: Heat the rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pot or the microwave for a couple of minutes then stir till the sugar has dissolved.
5: Turn the rice into a large shallow dish and fork through vinegar dressing till the rice is cool to avoid it sticking.
TO PREPARE ASIAN SALMON
1: : Prepare Asian salmon by placing salmon in a bowl, whisk remaining ingredients together till honey has dissolved and marinate fish for 20 minutes.
2: Place fish plus marinade in a foil tray and cook at 180 C for 10 – 12 minutes (depending on thickness of the fillets) until just done and fish flakes easily with a fork.
3: Assemble salad in a deep glass bowl with cooled rice at the bottom, topped by sliced carrots, then thinly sliced cucumber, then avocado, and finally salmon and nori strips on top and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
4: Serve with soya sauce and wasabi (if desired) on the side.
COOK'S NOTES: Cut nori sheets into squares with a scissors and use a vegetable peeler to cut cucumber and carrots into thin ribbons. Black sesame seeds are available at all spice shops but don't get confused and buy black onion seeds instead as they look similar. If you are scared off at the idea of making the entire sushi salad dish - though you really shouldn't be as it couldn't be easier and is simply fabulous for entertaining - then you can use this recipe simply to make Asian Salmon which is delicious on its own too.