salmon and yellowtail nigiri sushi

My husband, Chris, and I just got back early this afternoon from a quick trip to Portland, Oregon where we relaxed, explored the beautiful city, and, of course, ate to our hearts content.  I will post a more-detailed trip report later, but Salt & Pepper Ribeye, Peruvian Lamb Shank in a Cilantro-Black Beer Sauce, and a Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onion and Bacon Burger were some of the highlights.

After our weekend of indulging, we were in the mood for something light and perhaps a bit healthier for dinner.  Fortunately, our favorite Japanese market was right on our way home from LAX so we stopped and picked up some fresh sushi-grade slabs of salmon and yellowtail for nigiri sushi.

Nigiri is the type of sushi made with raw fish atop a clump of vinegared rice that is smeared with a dab of wasabi, or Japanese horseradish.  This is our favorite sushi because of its simplicity and the harmonious combination of the slightly sweet vinegared rice; fresh and clean tasting fish; pungent, burns-your-nose wasabi; and the salty soy sauce.  We are lucky to have Japanese supermarkets here in Southern California that carry fresh, high-quality fish so that we can prepare our own sushi, at a fraction of the price charged at sushi restaurants.

The first step in making any type of sushi is to cook the Japanese short-grain white rice, which is sticky due to its high starch content.  The Sushi Encyclopedia details the step-by-step method of cooking the rice – washing and rinsing the raw rice, cooking it in a pot (if you don’t own a rice cooker), adding the vinegar flavoring, and cooling the rice. Once the rice is made, slice the fish or other toppings into approximately 1/2-ounce portions and assemble the sushi by following this method. Serve with some pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce.

Sushi chefs go through rigorous training before they become chefs but don’t be intimidated, sushi can be made fairly easily at home.  The Sushi Encyclopedia is a good primer to get you started, just don’t expect your nigiri to have that perfect, uniform look on your first (or second or third) try.  It will still taste great as long as you use sushi-grade fish from a reputable market and are willing to jump in and try it.


12 thoughts on “salmon and yellowtail nigiri sushi

  1. Pingback: Sushi nigiri | Bestdamnawards

  2. I love sushi and can imagine it’s so much cheaper and more satisfying to make it yourself at home. I’m still hesitant to try because I’m worried about handling raw fish myself, I would disinfect all my kitchen utensils for sure but still be too worried. I have made maki rolls with cooked ingredients/ vegetables though, I love the sweet tangy chewy sushi rice with seaweed especially (:

  3. I looooove sushi — and I love living on the west coast even more, where sushi is always fresh and fairly inexpensive. Nigiri is best when the fish is a little cool but the rice is a little warm from the cooker… yum! Okay, now I HAVE to get sushi tonight. 😀

  4. Love the photo! I’ve had mixed luck with sushi at home. I’m pretty good at the rolls now but in the end I’m usually happier to let the sushi chefs do the work for me 🙂

  5. just an fyi, rice has no gluten at all in it – the stickiness comes from starch, not protein.

    love the post, and the photos are making me drool (and miss SoCal’s fish markets)

    • Rowan, first of all thanks for visiting my blog. Also, thanks, for the comment. I’ve corrected my error. It’s one of those “duh” moments that I didn’t catch after so many edits and fact checks. I hope you come back to visit again.



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