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Categories: Main courses, Vegetarian

Sushi-rice risotto in tomato cups with black olive soy sauce

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Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes, plus overnight marinating | Serves 4
Note: From owner Toshi Kihara and chef Hiro Fujita of Hamasaku. Look for ingredients in Asian markets and food sections of well-stocked groceries. Tokyo green onions are larger than regular green onions but smaller than leeks. Oba leaves are large shiso leaves. Both are available in Japanese markets. Start the pickled eggplant the day before.

Pickled eggplant

  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 (2-inch square piece) kombu (dried seaweed)
  • 2 Japanese eggplants

Step 1In a nonreactive bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, ginger and kombu. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Cut the eggplant into 2-inch rounds, then cut the rounds in half and add to the vinegar mixture. Marinate at least overnight for a sweet taste and up 24 hours for more of a sour flavor.

Black olive soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Step 1Place the olives, garlic, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar in food processor. Puree until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Sushi-rice risotto

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (2-inch square piece) kombu seaweed
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sushi rice or short-grained rice
  • 16 snow peas
  • 1/4 cup fresh yellow corn kernels
  • 1/2 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and diced small
  • 4 red ripe medium tomatoes
  • 8 oba leaves
  • 1 Japanese cucumber, peeled and cut into very fine strips
  • 8 pieces pickled Japanese eggplant
  • Italian parsley for garnish
  • 1 Tokyo green onion, cut into very fine strips

Step 1Combine the sugar, seaweed and vinegar and stir to dissolve sugar. Place the rice in a small saucepan with two-thirds cup water. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes to make 1 cup of cooked rice. Stir 3 tablespoons of the sugar-seaweed-vinegar mixture into the rice and set aside.

Step 2Cut both ends of each snow pea to make decorative V-shaped notches. Blanch the peas for 2 minutes in boiling water, remove and place in an ice-water bath, then drain. Blanch the corn kernels in boiling water for 2 minutes, remove and place in an ice-water bath, then drain.

Step 3Combine the rice, corn and avocado and set aside.

Step 4Peel the tomatoes by cutting an X in the bottom of each and then plunging them into boiling water for 30 seconds and then into an ice bath before peeling. Cut off the top of each tomato and dice for garnish. Carefully scoop out the seeds to form a cup.

Step 5To assemble, place 2 oba leaves on each of four plates. Pile a small handful of Japanese cucumber strips in the center of plate and place a tomato on top. Divide the risotto-corn mixture between the 4 tomato cups and fill. Place 4 snow peas into each cup fanning out like a flower. Put 2 pickled eggplant pieces on top of each tomato. Drizzle black olive soy sauce over the filled tomatoes and around the plate. Garnish the top of the tomato with Italian parsley. Sprinkle the diced tomato and Tokyo green onion strips around the plate.

Each serving:
228 calories; 6 grams protein; 42 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams fiber; 6 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 1,162 mg. sodium.
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