Spicy Uni-Lardo Sushi in Lettuce Cups
- TOTAL TIME: 45 MIN
- SERVINGS: Makes 24 bit-size cups
These lettuce cups are filled with surprising and boldly flavored ingredients—crisped balls of sushi rice wrapped in paper-thin sheets of lardo (pork fat) and topped with fresh uni (sea urchin).
- 3/4 cup short-grain Japanese rice
- 1 tablespoon tobanjan (see Note)
- 1 teaspoon red chile oil
- 1/8 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar (see Note)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon mirin
- 1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 heads butter lettuce (about 1 pound), 24 smallest leaves reserved
- 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 24 paper-thin slices of lardo (see Note)
- 24 lobes of sea urchin (6 ounces; see Note)
- Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
- Cook the rice in a rice cooker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Alternatively, in a small saucepan, combine the rice with 1 cup of cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed, 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Transfer 1 cup of the cooked rice to a small bowl; reserve the rest for another use.
- In a bowl, stir the tobanjan, chile oil, ginger and black vinegar with 1 tablespoon of water. In another bowl, combine the sugar, mirin, rice vinegar and salt and sprinkle it over the 1 cup of rice; mix well. Form the rice into 24 loosely packed 1/2-inch balls.
- Arrange the 24 lettuce leaves on a platter. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the rice balls and cook over moderately low heat, turning, until crispy all over, 6 minutes. Wrap a slice of lardo around each warm rice ball and set in a lettuce cup. Top each with a lobe of sea urchin and dab with the tobanjan sauce. Garnish with scallions and serve.
Bright, minerally Blanc de Blancs Champagne.