Room to Play

In professional kitchens, most of the creative work is left to those in charge. The same is true of culinary school, but there are certain times at the FCI when students design something of their own. This is especially true during the last two levels, when students working in the restaurant are asked to design amuse bouche, sandwich, omelette and vegetarian items. If there is extra time, a group or individual can also create appetizer or dessert specials.
This is an appetizer I designed, which ran for a few days at L'Ecole. It's a riff on a recipe taught to me by my talented chef friend, Ken Therrien.

Sashimi Spring Rolls
I call these sashimi rolls because the spring roll wrapper crisps in the fryer, but the tuna inside remains perfectly, sashimi-esque raw.
Makes about 8 rolls

Spring Rolls:
1 lb sushi grade tuna, cut into 3 x .5 inch strips
1 mango, cut into strips
1 bunch mint leaves
Wasabi powder or paste
Spring roll wrappers
1 egg, for egg wash

Cilantro Aioli
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 garlic clove
1 jalapeno, seeded and stemmed
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt

Cucumber Salad
1 English cucumber, cut into julienne strips
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tbs sugar, or to taste

For rolls:

  • Lay the spring roll wrapper on a board so that it looks like a diamond when facing you. Place tuna half an inch below the center of the wrapper. Coat tuna with a layer of wasabi, then mango, and finally mint.
  • With a pastry brush, paint all edges of the wrapper with the egg wash.
  • Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper over the tuna, and then both side corners. Roll like you would a burrito, creating a closed cylinder.
  • Place rolls in the freezer, moving them to a refrigerator just before you're ready to fry. When out of the freezer, cover rolls with a moist paper towel to prevent the wrappers from drying up and cracking.

For Aioli:

  • Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

For Cucumber Salad:

  • Mix together the rice wine vinegar and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Place the cucumbers in the vinegar mixture and let marinate for at least 1 hr.
  • When ready to serve, mix in the tomatoes.

For Service:

  • Heat a fryer to 375 F. Fry rolls until they are light brown, about 1 minute. Slice the rolls on a bias and serve with aioli and cucumber salad.

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