Charcuterie Challenge #4 Tasso Ham: CA/TN Roll, yes, Sushi

15 Apr

Our family has always, always, always loved Sushi, well, Sashimi, if you want to get technical about it. We love raw fish. Moving to Tennessee brought about several dramatic changes in our lives. 1. A very limited budget and, 2. A desire to eat local. So Sushi really should have been pushed beyond the back burner, or completely forgotten altogether, but in reality, ashamedly, we guiltily lurked around Japanese restaurants and when we went out to eat at these “forbidden” places, we pretended that it was always “our last time” with the knowledge that we  couldn’t afford it. Sad, but true.  Sushi addicts, yes we were.

Our lurking around Japanese restaurants has diminished significantly however, we continue to purchase Nori (dried sheets of seaweed -Sushi wraps), and make creative versions of Sushi around the house, especially on Friday nights.  That’s what we call family time.

The kids take cooked meat/or/vegetarian Sushi rolls to school packed for lunch occasionally. At one point the lunch monitor, quite concerned, made sure nothing raw presided in those rolls.  At this tiny rural school it was probably one of the last things she expected to see in a kids lunch, leave it to those crazy California transplants…

Our kids love their new life here, but really miss raw fish… So do we. Here’s an alternative, something we call our  CA/TN Roll thanks to our new-found knowledge in how to cure and smoke Tasso ham. The spicy Tasso seems to go with the seaweed and the vegetables, add the creamy mayo catfish and you’ve got something!

Tasso, pre-smoke

2 Cups sushi rice
2 Cups water
1/3 Cup Rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Sugar
a pinch of salt

1 Cup baked catfish flaked* you could also use fried chopped catfish if you so desire…
½ Cup diced Tasso ham (or more!)
1/3 Cup Mayonnaise (we know mayo isn’t traditionally Japanese – bear with us, this is a take-off on a California roll)
2 carrots cut into long matchsticks
1 cucumber (peeled) cut into long thin strips
1 big bunch spinach**
1 bunch red mustard**

8 sheets of Nori

Wash rice several times until water runs clear. Add rice and water to a pot with a tight lid or use a rice cooker. Bring rice and water to a simmer and cover. Turn the heat down to low and let sit for about ½ an hour.

Combine sugar salt and vinegar in a jar and shake well. Make sure the sugar is dissolved. Add the sugar salt and vinegar mixture to the cooked rice in a separate bowl and mix well. Set aside to let cool covered with a towel.

In another bowl, combine the catfish, Tasso ham and mayonnaise.

Set up your food preparation area and ingredients for the rolls prior to making them. Set out the rice, catfish/Tasso mixture, carrot, cucumber, spinach and mustard greens in separate or combined bowls.

Lay out a bamboo mat and cover with plastic wrap (we use a 1 gallon zip-lock bag). Place Nori on top of wrap and press rice mixture onto 2/3 of the sheet. In the center, lay a 1″ section of the catfish and Tasso mixture in a horizontal line on the Nori and rice. Lay carrots, spinach, cucumber and mustard along the catfish/Tasso mixture. Roll the Nori tightly with the bamboo mat and squeeze to get everything to stick together.

Release the roll and slice it into sections with a sharp knife. Eat the rolls the way you normally eat sushi. We like soy sauce mixed with wasabi, but in this case the red mustard is spicy enough to cover the kick we’d be looking for with the wasabi.


We don’t think that deep frying these rolls in a (tempura) batter would enhance health, but might be a tasty nod to the South and Tennessee, just sayin’.

* Bake the catfish until it flakes, about 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Sprinkle with salt and pepper prior to baking.

** Grown without chemicals at Pinkguitarfarm

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