“Cat”erpillar Sushi Rolls
Unagi, or broiled freshwater eel, is a very popular sushi topping and filing for sushi rolls. But that’s a problem. Freshwater eel is not a sustainable seafood choice. When dining out, you want to avoid all sushi that includes freshwater eel as an ingredient. And unfortunately, that also means abstaining from the sweet eel sauce that is often drizzled over the tops of sushi. As the name suggests, eel sauce is made with, well eel.
Staying sustainable doesn’t have to mean the end of eating your favorite sushi. Instead, finding creative new toppings, fillings and sauces offers sushi lovers a great opportunity to experiment with new ingredients.
Here, catfish is used in lieu of broiled bbq eel. It has a similar texture and best of all, it is readily available.
“Cat”erpillar Sushi Rolls
Makes 4 Sushi Rolls (32 pieces)
1 large catfish fillet, boneless and skinless
1/4 cup Eel-free Eel Sauce, and more for drizzling
Four 4 x 7 inch sheets nori
2-3 cups prepared sushi rice
4 inch section of cucumber, cut into matchsticks
1/2 carrot, cut into matchsticks
Bring a large pan of water to a low boil. Add the catfish fillet and boil for 2 minutes. Remove catfish from the water immediately and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Brush both sides of the catfish with Eel-free Eel Sauce. Place under a broiler for about 5 minutes or until catfish is just done. Allow the catfish to cool to room temperature.
Cut the catifish into thin strips. Place 1 sheet of nori horizontally on the work surface, being sure that the rough side is facing upwards. Cover the entire surface with an even, thin layer of prepared sushi rice, about 1/2 –3/4 cups. Flip nori over so that rice in facing down.
Place about 3 strips of catfish in the middle of the nori, being sure that it extends to both edges of the nori. Add 1/4 of the cucumber matchsticks and 1/4 of the carrot matchsticks.
Roll according to the technique for making inside out rolls, but do not cut the roll. Repeat the steps with the remaining nori, rice and filings to make 3 more rolls. Peel the avocado and cut it in half. Slice each half into several thin slices. Cover the top of each roll with avocado slices. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of each roll. Use a bamboo rolling mat to gently press the avocado to each roll. Dip the blade of a sharp knife in water before cutting each roll into 8 pieces. (But don’t take the plastic wrap off just yet!) Use the bamboo rolling mat to press the avocado to the roll once more. Carefully remove the plastic wrap. Arrange the pieces on a serving tray. Drizzle some of the Eel-free Eel Sauce to taste over the pieces. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Serve with wasabi and pickled ginger if desired.