The film, subtitled in English, is beautifully shot. Each morsel of sushi is a little work of art and Jiro's quotes about passion, work ethic, food and sushi are thought-provoking. When you think of the many years he has worked to perfect his craft, and the fact that he keeps on striving every day to do better, it is amazing.
"I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I'll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is." ...Jiro Ono, Jiro Dreams of Sushi
I dream of sushi frequently and eat it frequently too. It's hard not to living in Hawaii. In some form or another, it ends up at most events, parties and potlucks. It's perfect for a quick lunch or dinner, and even a box of take-out brown rice ahi rolls from Whole Foods makes me happy. (Although not as happy as Max, nothing delights his little kitty heart more than seeing the box he recognizes come out of the shopping bag occasionally. I am "forced" to share the ahi out of the center of the roll and usually end up with the leftover rice and cucumber. I have a feeling Max would like Jiro a lot.) ;-)
What I don't dream of is making sushi. I have done it at a class and at a party and while it was fun (especially while drinking) at the time, it was also too much effort for me to ever want to do at home. Obviously sushi is the focus of this film--although we see some different foods like tempura and soba noodles at a staff meal. Wanting to stick with a sushi-ish dish but not wanting to fuss individual sushi pieces, I decided to recreate one of my favorite potluck dishes from my old office. It was always a hit when my friend and co-worker Corinne would bring in a big pan of her husband Shawn's Spicy Ahi Tower. It's like a spicy tuna roll without the fuss of rolling, especially when served with little sheets of seasoned seaweed to wrap around it. Since you are breaking down the components of a sushi roll, and then building them back up again, I think of it as "reconstructed" sushi rather than deconstructed. Whatever you want to call it, the tuna in it's creamy spicy sauce with the cooling avocado and slightly sweet and vinegary sushi rice is delicious.
Spicy Ahi Tuna & Avocado Tower
Recipe Adapted from Shawn Shiroma (& Corinne)
(Number of servings is dependent on the size you make)
(Since this isn't my recipe and Shawn adapted it from (an unnamed) restaurant he worked for, and Corinne gave me just the basic ideas and tips over the phone, I am not including an actual recipe here for the spicy ahi layer--just the ingredients. If you want to make it and need more coaching or direction, shoot me an email and we'll *talk!*)
In a springform pan or mold of your choice, layer the following:
Notes/Results: Although not exactly the same as the champion dish my friend Shawn makes, I was pretty happy with how this one turned out. I used my mini springform pan to make a small tower that would be a great appetizer for two or three. (It was a little too much for dinner for one, but I managed!) ;-) Two of the best tips from Corinne and Shawn were to make sure the ahi cubes were patted dry with paper towels, and to make up the sauce the night before--to allow the red pepper spice to meld, before stirring in the ahi cubes and making the tower the next day. This is an easy dish to make if you have access to a good Asian market for supplies. I'm lucky here to be able to get everything at the grocery store, including the pre-cut cubes of ahi that the seafood department uses for their poke . The cost of the ingredients does add up--fitting for the movie since lunch at Sukiyabashi Jiro was something like $300, so the cost (and the mayo in the sauce) make this good as an occasional indulgence that I will happily make again.
"In order to make delicious food, you must eat delicious food." ...Jiro Ono, Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Thanks to Camilla for the great movie pick. She'll be rounding up the entries shortly on her blog. Since the dealine is today (gah!), join us for July when we will be watching one of my all-time movie favorites, Moonsoon Wedding , hosted by Heather at girlichef .