We’ve taken a favorite Japanese staple, unadon (eel rice bowl), and given it a little twist. The kale salad is not traditional, but it is pretty tasty! And salmon stands in for the eel. Keta is fairly lean — much leaner than eel — and can dry out if broiled until the glaze is darkly caramelized.
- 1 ½ cups sushi rice
- Kosher salt
- 2 persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 large washed and dried kale leaves, stems and inner ribs removed
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon gochujang or sriracha
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 portions keta salmon, pin bones removed
- Combine the rice, 2 cups of water, and ½ teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and let sit for 5 minutes. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, 20 minutes. Keep covered until ready to serve.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, carrot, vinegar, sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt and let sit while you prepare the rest of the meal.
- In another bowl, tear the kale into bite size pieces. Add the neutral oil, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, and a pinch of salt and gently massage to wilt the leaves. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, gochujang, and 1 tablespoon water.
- Preheat the broiler, set the rack 6 inches from the heat source and line a baking sheet with foil. In a small bowl, combine the mirin, soy sauce, and remaining ½ teaspoon sesame oil. Set the fish on the baking sheet, skin-side down, and season with salt. Brush with half of the soy sauce mixture and broil until the fish is firm and just beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Brush with the remaining soy mixture and broil until lightly glazed, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
- Spoon the rice into bowls and top with salmon, pickled vegetables, and kale salad. Drizzle with some of the pickle dressing and spicy mayo, and garnish with the remaining sesame seeds.
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Pair it Up
Match the nutty flavors of toasted sesame seeds with a crisp, aromatic Austrian riesling. Or keep to the theme and choose your favorite honjozo sake or Japanese-style white ale.
Spice it Up
Add a generous pinch of Korean pepper flakes (gochugaru) or crushed red chili flakes to the cucumbers for a quick kimchi-like pickle.
Change it Up
Wrap any leftover rice, salmon, and kale in sheets of nori (Japanese seaweed) for easy sushi rolls.
Lighten it Up
Substituting short grain brown rice for white sushi rice adds texture, nutty flavor, and fiber.
Know Your Cook
Culinary Director Grace Parisi is a cook, writer and cookbook author. Formerly the Senior Test Kitchen Editor at Food & Wine Magazine and Executive Food Director at TimeInc Books, her work has appeared in Cooking Light, Health, O Magazine, Epicurious, Fitness, Today, Serious Eats, Martha Stewart, and many more. She’s the author of more than 6 books, among them The Portlandia Cookbook and Get Saucy, which was nominated for a James Beard award for Best Single Subject Cookbook.