Inside Out California Roll

Making sushi at home is easier than you think and this Inside Out California Roll is sure to impress. The Yard House California Roll was the inspiration for this edible work of art. Making sushi at home costs far less than ordering out. I think a lot of people shy away from making it because it appears labor intensive and difficult. Well, no worries here. With this version of the California Roll there is no rolling involved. Just pack it all in, invert and voila, you've got sushi!

Inside Out California Roll

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Assembly Time: 30-45 minutes
Common Allergens: Soy, Shellfish, Sesame (all may be omitted)

Ingredients You Need:

Sushi Rice
Rice Vinegar (unseasoned)
Olive Oil
Honey
Sea Salt
Cucumber
Carrot
Avocado
Crab (fresh or canned)
Sushi Nori
Sesame Seed (black and/or white)
Pickled Ginger
Gluten-free Teriyaki Sauce
Wasabi Powder

Instructions:

In medium saucepan, bring to boil then reduce to low, cover and cook 20 minutes (rice should be tender and all water absorbed, see Notes):

2 cups uncooked white SUSHI RICE (rinse and strain until water runs clear)
3 cups filtered WATER

Heat until well combined:

1/2 cup RICE VINEGAR
3 tablespoons HONEY
1 tablespoon OLIVE OIL
1-1/2 teaspoon SEA SALT (or to taste)

Allow rice and the vinegar mixture to cool a bit. Spread warm rice out on large jelly roll pan. Sprinkle vinegar mixture over rice. Gently, but briskly, toss until liquid is absorbed and rice has cooled. For optimal results and a glossy sheen, use a small fan to blow air over the rice as it's being tossed. Cover and set aside.

Prepare and set aside:

2 medium CUCUMBERS peeled, de-seeded and cut into 1/4-1/2" cubes
2 medium CARROTS peeled and spiralized (see Notes) or finely shredded
2 small ripe AVOCADOS cut into 1/4-1/2" cubes (see Notes for how-to video)
3 sheets SUSHI NORI cut into 1x1/8" shreds using kitchen shears
1-1/2 cups fresh CRAB MEAT shredded (use canned in a pinch)

Mix and set aside:

1 tablespoon prepared WASABI (if using wasabi powder, prepare as directed on packaging)
1/4-1/2 cup gluten-free TERIYAKI SAUCE (adjust to taste)

Assemble and serve:

1. Line a deep, straight-sided ramekin or souffle dish (approximately 4-5" wide) with plastic wrap.
2. Spoon in a layer of avocado to completely cover bottom of dish.
3. With moistened hands, make a lightly-packed rice ball that is 1" smaller in width than the dish.
4. Place rice ball on avocado layer and pack crab around edges of rice ball.
5. Spoon on a layer of cucumber.
6. Use a flat-bottomed glass to gently pack down cucumber, crab, rice and avocado.
7. Invert onto a plate and gently remove plastic wrap.
8. Press sushi nori around edges and sprinkle over top of sushi.
9. Top with carrot and pickled ginger.
10. Drizzle with Wasabi Teriyaki sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
11. Serve immediately.

Notes:

• For perfect rice every time you can use this no-measuring-cup technique I learned from my dad. Simply add desired amount of rice to pot (rice doubles in volume when cooked). Rinse and drain until water runs clear. Add enough water to pot so that it measures one knuckle above the level of the rice (pointer finger). Place in rice cooker. If cooking on stove top, bring to a full boil, cover, turn to low heat and cook for 20 minutes. No peeking.

• The technique for spiralizing carrots is the same as described in my "Zucchini Noodles" post. Spiralized veggies really dress up a dish. You could julienne as well.

• Asian markets should have most of what you need.

• And finally, a little how-to for cubing avocados. I like the tip on "squishing it out" for guacamole: