Steamed and smoked salmon chirashizushi (scattered sushi)

I love a bit of soosh. If I didn’t live about as far away from the coast as you can get on this big island and spankingly fresh fish was regularly available, I’d be eating the stuff once a week.

I remember being excited to see a fishmongers near us when we moved into the area, but there was a meagre selection on display. A big guy behind the counter asked me what I wanted. I wasn’t sure. I asked him where his fish was from and he kinda looked at me like I was the new kid in class. He pointed behind him and said, “From that freezer over there.” It’s now a kebab shop.

One day I will visit Japan and sit in a sushi restaurant and happily hand over a fair few yen to watch a ridiculously skilful chef craft a piece of nigiri with his deft hands. It will explode flavour and dissolve in my mouth and linger on my senses like a memorable orgasm. Formal Japanese food is mind-bogglingly exact. What would it be like to spend two years of your professional life doing nothing but learning how to cook perfect rice as sushi chefs do? That’d be like trainee footballers not playing an actual match and practising nothing but short passes for their first two seasons!

To satisfy my sushi cravings I have to take regular trips into London or make stuff like this chirashizushi using cooked fish.

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First I dressed cooled sushi rice with pickled gherkin juice before topping with flakes of steamed salmon and chunks of smoked salmon. I scattered over pickled beetroot, avocado, horseradish and rocket before drizzling with sweet soy seaweed butter sauce – a drop of soy sauce, a dot of butter, juices from steaming the fish, sugar and nori all mixed and heated together.

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It came together nicely – rich steamed salmon, salty smoked salmon, creamy avocado, iron-y nori, sweet and sharp beetroot and the occasional wasabi-like hit of horseradish.

Ingredients: sushi rice, pickle juice, salmon, smoked salmon, pickled beetroot, avocado, nori, horseradish, soy sauce, sugar, butter.

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