I’m kind of a quiet person. I don’t think anyone would ever accuse me of “oversharing.” It’s not the most conducive personality toward self-promotion in the blogging world, but it’s how I am. I constantly ask myself the question, “How much should I share with my readers?” I have a personal blog where I post lots of stories and pictures about family life. I feel like this blog should focus more on the food and recipes.
So, in a break from my reserved self, I want to share this story with you.
Very recently, I was pregnant. Then, heartbreakingly, I wasn’t. It wasn’t the first time. Or even the second. I didn’t realize it would be so difficult to have another child. At first, I couldn’t even talk to my family about it. Eventually, I told a few friends, and trusted that they would discreetly pass the information along to others. In private, I cried a lot. At work, I focused on connecting with my students, doing well on an important evaluation, and getting through the day. I neglected this blog and social media for a bit. I gave my son extra hugs and kisses.
For the three months that I was pregnant, I craved all the foods that I was supposed to avoid – hot dogs, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and sushi. Oh, sushi. How I missed you. One of my favorite sushi restaurants served the best crunchy asparagus roll. I started making them at home to satisfy my sushi craving. It wasn’t the same as my beloved spicy tuna kobachi, but the toasted seaweed-seasoned rice-crunchy exterior combination took enough of the edge off the craving.
- For the rice: heat water and rice in a saucepan until boiling, stirring a few times. Turn heat to low, cover, and let cook until water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer rice to a wide bowl. With a rubber spatula, fan rice out to cover the entire inside surface of the bowl. Let the rice sit for a minute to cool off, then gently bring rice back together in the center of the bowl. Repeat fanning process 4-5 more times until rice has cooled to room temperature. Sprinkle rice vinegar, sugar, and salt over the rice and gently stir to evenly distribute.
- While the rice is cooking and cooling, prepare the asparagus. Blanch asparagus spears in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove spears from boiling water and place them in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking process. Lay on a clean towel to dry.
- Set up a dredging station with three shallow dishes; place flour in first one, egg in the second, and panko crumbs in the third. Coat asparagus in the flour, then the egg, then roll in the panko. Place on a baking sheet. Pour enough oil in a cast iron skillet (or something wide enough to hold the asparagus) to make a 1-inch layer. Heat to 350 degrees and fry asparagus in batches until browned on all sides, about 1-2 minutes total. Place fried asparagus spears on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
- Assemble the rolls: lay one sheet of toasted nori on a rolling mat (optional.) Carefully spread rice in a thin, even layer over the nori, leaving a 1/2 inch of the far edge of the nori bare. Gently pat the rice flat. Place three asparagus spears on the rice, and roll the nori, starting with the edge closest to you. Gently press the roll together as you roll. Cut the sushi roll into 6-8 even pieces. Serve with a dollop of wasabi.