A good $4 drink is powerful stuff.
It gets the night started, is light on your wallet, and I think almost got my friend Cara, from the infamous Penne a la vodka, to move to Philly.
Ok so she probably wasn’t going to abandon her teaching job on Long Island for a four dollar vodka soda at a college magazine launch party but the non-New York price tag did give her pause. She could have so many more drinks if she moved to Philly and all the deconstructed sushi rolls my kitchen could turn out.
And by deconstructed I mean fallen apart and now called salad. Somewhere I had seen this photo of shrimp and avocado wrapped in paper thin cucumber and knew this was the impressive dish I would make when Cara came to town. I have a cheap-ass mandoline that usually gets the job done but failed so hard when I needed sheer sheets of cucumber. What I ended up with were cut fingertips and nubs of cucumber noodles, not the same as sushi.
I gave up and chunked up all of the ingredients and scattered them across salad greens. Our DIY dinner was still a hit and provided a great start to a vodka-soda fueled evening.
I mostly forgot about the sad almost rolls until I spotted a recipe for tuna pokē in April’s Bon Appetit. Cara is having her bridal shower at a sushi restaurant so this dish has her name written all over it. And since it doesn’t require me to basically skin a cucumber it can happen in my kitchen.
Well, except for the raw tuna part. I will gladly eat the raw stuff and I don’t think my store is trying to kill me with their fish selection but eh, I’m a wimp and went for cooked salmon pokē instead.
But by cooking the fish you can add an extra layer of flavor. I brushed some of the sauce that tops the finished dish on to the raw salmon for a quick marinade and then seared it in a hot pan. Skin on salmon cooks easily and the oily skin protects the orange flesh as the fish cooks.
Then when the fish is cooked and cooled, it easily flakes apart and is laid across a plate for a pseudo Cobb salad set up. I like laying out all of the ingredients so people can mix and match to their hearts desire and make their own bowls. Give me all of the avocado, please.
To go with the salmon, cubes of cool avocado are hacked up and laid out along the plate too. The cucumber that plagued me in the original recipe is thinly sliced with a knife instead of a mandoline and drops into a quick pickling liquid of rice wine vinegar and sugar. Sliced jalapenos join the cucumber to add some heat and are also great on the finished bowl.
Crumbled nori is the briny element that ties the salmon pokē bowls together and has now become a random snack for me. The internet tells me it’s healthy. Bon Appetit also suggests topping the pokē with Tobiko but my store doesn’t sell that. If yours does then send me some. Instead of tobiko, I take a little bit of each ingredient and mix together in a bowl then I top the dish with sliced scallions and the reserved sauce that started as a marinade.
- 1 pound of salmon
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ¼ English cucumber, thinly sliced
- ½ jalapeno, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon water
- Sesame Seeds
- Mix together the marinade/sauce ingredients.
- Brush about 3 tablespoons of the marinade on the salmon.
- Heat a skillet to medium high heat and add a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Cook the salmon skin side down to your desired doneness. I like my salmon medium rare so I usually cook the fish for about 8-10 minutes. Since the salmon is going to flaked apart anyway, there’s no harm in cutting it open to check for doneness.
- When the salmon is cooked and cooled, flake it apart into big chunks and discard the skin.
- Make the quick pickles by thinly slicing the cucumber and jalapeno.
- Mix together the rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt and water in a small bowl and add the sliced cucumber and jalapeno.
- Let sit for as little as 10 minutes and the cucumber will pick up a pickled flavor.
- Gathering your toppings, I liked cubed avocado and crumbled sheets of nori.
- To assemble a bowl I toss together some salmon, avocado, cucumber and crumbled nori. Then drizzle some of the reserved marinade on top.
- Serve with sushi rice or salad greens.