Try a no-recipe recipe for chirashi, or Kay Chun’s recipe for sesame salmon bowls.
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By Sam Sifton
Good morning. I love Kay Chun’s recipe for sesame salmon bowls (above), inspired by the sushi dish known as chirashi, which comes from the Japanese word for “scattered.” It’s fast and flavorful. You make a version of sushi rice, the grains cooked in water and vinegar, then steam salmon on top and serve it with a soy-sesame dressing and one of my favorite supermarket-ingredient short cuts: bagged, pre-cut coleslaw.
But yellowfin and small bluefin tuna have been crashing around my home waters of late, and some sharpies I know have been catching them on topwater plugs at dawn, then dropping off packages of belly and loin meat all over the neighborhood. I’m not cooking anything inspired by chirashi this week. I’m making actual chirashi, no-recipe recipe style.
It’s a simple dish of sushi rice topped with raw sliced tuna, with Kay’s coleslaw and dressing, and maybe some wasabi mixed with soy sauce. The zing of the wasabi cuts the fatty tuna well. Accompanied by the rice — one part sushi rice cooked with one and a quarter parts water, with a few tablespoons of rice vinegar sweetened with sugar folded in at the end — it’s a summertime meal to remind us of the majesty of the ocean and its bounty, a resource for all to protect. (If tuna’s unavailable to you, try it with salmon, usually marked “sushi-grade” at the fishmonger.)
That’s my dinner tonight. Tomorrow I’ll return to summer’s usual charms where I stay: sweet corn steamed gently on the stovetop or grilled outside (where I’ve been liking my ears with chile butter); a grand seasonal aioli situation; pasta with zucchini, ricotta and basil; stone-fruit caprese.
I might brave the oven for roasted chicken thighs with garlicky cucumber yogurt. Or for bulgogi-style tofu. Egg curry on the stovetop? Whichever, I’ll be drinking plenty of hibiscus punch, which I like a little less sweet than the recipe calls for, mixed with seltzer over ice.
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Now, it’s nothing to do with the merits of Hal’s lime seltzer or the beauty of an heirloom tomato, but Radhika Jones put the Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton on the cover of her September issue of Vanity Fair. You should read Chris Heath’s profile of him, with photographs by Adrienne Raquel.
It’s commerce as much as anything, but I enjoyed my time watching Ryan Gosling in “The Gray Man” on Netflix. (Afterward I surfed over to Amazon Prime and binged “The Terminal List,” which was a mistake save for getting to visit with a grown-up Taylor Kitsch from “Friday Night Lights.”)
The New York Times for Kids went to Coney Island to interview and photograph children on the beach and boardwalk, and the result is a delight.
Finally, the indispensable Sasha Frere-Jones alerted me to a playlist Teju Cole put up on Spotify recently: “Steady On,” mostly Jamaican music and this week’s kitchen soundtrack. Enjoy that, and I’ll be back on Friday.
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