Debra Samuels talks about her cookbook, My Japanese Table

Take a “behind-the-scenes” look at the photo shoot for My Japanese Table.
Our team includes photographer, his assistants, a food stylist and a dedicated group of friends helping to make over 15 recipes a day!

I am very excited to give you a sneak preview from My Japanese Table: A Lifetime of Cooking with Friends and Family. It is based on my more than a decade of life in Japan. Learn how to throw a hand roll sushi party, make matcha ice cream and put together your own pantry of essential Japanese ingredients.

Here is recipe for you to try from the book.
Smoked Salmon Pressed Sushi (Oshi zushi)
Pressed Sushi is a dish made with layers of sushi rice and fish, that are cut into bite-size pieces. What a great way to make sushi for a crowd. The Japanese use a special box made from cedar is used in constructing this dish. They set a slightly smaller square lid onto the top layer and compress the mixture. But you don’t have to have one to make this dish. When I teach a cooking class or write an article it is important for me to find acceptable alternatives for these uncommon items. Enter your ordinary square or rectangular baking pan! I cover the pan with plastic wrap before putting in the ingredients for a no-fuss removal of the pressed layers. A heavy cookbook can serve as a weight. Traditionally, marinated mackerel slices are the fish of choice, but sushi-grade mackerel is not easy to find and has a strong distinctive flavor that’s not universally appreciated. I’ll use smoked salmon, spicy mayo, and shiso leaves for a terrific trio. If shiso isn’t available then use basil or an assertive green, like arugula or watercress instead. Once the mixture is pressed and cut up, serve them as appetizers, tuck a few into an obento or bring it along on a picnic. Vary the filling by using cooked shrimp, slices of avocado, soft leaf lettuces, like Boston or red leaf. Serve with soy sauce. To dip the pieces, turn them salmon side down; if you dip the rice end first, the pieces will fall apart.
Pressed salmon sushi
Makes about 30 bite-size pieces
Rice 4-5 cups (800-1000 g) sushi riceTopping
3/4 cup (375 ml) mayonnaise
2 teaspoons liquid hot sauce (Sriracha sauce)
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
35 shiso leaves or 2 cups arugula leaves
12 oz (375g) smoked salmon
1 oz (30 g) salmon roe, for garnish
2 green onions (scallions), fi nely
chopped for garnish (optional)
Soy sauce (for dipping)

1 Set a 9 by 13-inch (22.5 x 32.5 cm) pan or an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan on the counter. Line the bottom with 2 pieces of plastic wrap, letting 8 inches (20 cm) hang over all sides. With moist hands, place half the sushi rice in the bottom of the pan. Press lightly to make a smooth layer.

2 Stir together the mayonnaise, hot sauce, sesame oil, and soy sauce in a bowl. Spread half the mayonnaise mixture on the rice.

3 Reserve 5 shiso leaves for garnish. Lay half of the remaining shiso leaves (or arugula) on the rice. Top the shiso (arugula) with half the salmon slices. The salmon should completely cover the leaves.

4 Repeat the process with the remaining rice, mayonnaise mixture, shiso (arugula), and salmon. Fold the extra plastic wrap over the top layer. Place a large book on top and gently apply pressure. Set aside for at least 15 minutes or for up to 1 hour.

5 Open the plastic wrap and use it to lift out the sushi. Sprinkle on the chopped green onions (scallions), if using. Decorate the top with additional shiso leaves and salmon roe. Set it on a cutting board. With a wet paper towel, moisten the edge of a sharp knife. Cut the sushi into rectangular pieces about 1 x 2 inches (2.5 x 5 cm) each. Sprinkle with green onions (scallions). Serve with soy sauce.

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