Cured mackerel pressed sushi

Cured mackerel pressed sushi

Shimesaba oshizushi

By
From
JapanEasy
Makes
12-16 pieces of sushi
Photographer
Laura Edwards

We’ve covered sushi rolls, but what about nigiri sushi – the more traditional, altogether more delicate preparation of fish on a pillow of rice? That’s something that actually does take practice. However, there’s a somewhat obscure type of sushi that can approximate the format of nigiri without the need to apprentice in Tokyo for four years – it’s called oshizushi, or pressed sushi. Essentially, prepared fish is placed on top of a bed of sushi rice, and then the whole thing is gently pressed. The fish adheres to the rice, which is then sliced into nigiri-like bitesized pieces. I chose pickled mackerel, but the same technique can be applied to any fish.

Impressively not difficult

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
salt
2 mackerel fillets, pin-boned and cleaned of any traces of blood
150ml vinegar
1 small piece of kombu, about 5 cm square, briefly soaked in cold water to soften, (optional)
240g Sushi rice
wasabi, to taste
soy sauce, to serve

Method

  1. You will need a small, rectangular container for this, along with a plate, another container, or just a piece of cardboard wrapped in cling film (plastic wrap) that fits snugly inside that container.
  2. Rub a liberal amount of salt into both sides of the mackerel fillets. Leave to cure in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 4, then rinse off the salt and pat dry with kitchen paper. Transfer to a ziplock bag or container, pour in the vinegar and add the kombu, if using. Seal and leave to pickle in the fridge for another 2 hours and up to 8 hours, then remove the fish, pat dry and gently peel off its transparent skin (it should be slightly loose at the head end).
  3. Line your container with cling film and pack the rice into it in an even layer. Spread a little wasabi on top of the rice and lay the mackerel fillets on top, head-to-tail, so they cover as much of the rice as possible. Set your plate/container/cardboard on top and press down firmly so everything compresses and sticks together. Use the cling film to remove the rice and fish from the container. Remove the cling film, then slice down the centre, between the two fillets. Cut each half into bite-sized pieces of sushi and enjoy with soy sauce.
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