A cat named Mochi

During my trip to Japan in 2005, I became sort of obsessed with the way the language sounds – it’s so perky and staccato and sounds like so much fun to speak that I developed a tendancy to want to name things with Japanese words, just so I could incorporate them into my daily life. I started calling Bromley ichiban inu, Number One Dog, because (try it) it’s fun to say.

But Japanese food offers the best sounds: take mochi, for example. Sure, it refers to glutinous rice cakes (or the delicious frozen dessert I buy at Trader Joe’s), but it has such a ring to it. Oh, how I would love to have a cat named Mochi.

Here’s a flashback, using another one of my favorite Japanese food words (of the 10 or so I know), furikake. My husband loves to sprinkle it on anything he deems flavorless (mmm, mac and cheese with sesame, fish, and seaweed sprinkles, anyone?), so I figured I’d beat him to the punch and put it directly on the food before he can get to it himself. Calling this Japanese food would be a true ethnic slur (I have mentioned how hopeless we can be in the ethnic foods department), but since I rarely use nori outside sushi, it reminded me of Japan.

Yes, there is MSG in furikake, I discovered. But I figure I ate plenty of Double-Stuffed Oreos when hydrogenated fat was a la mode, and I’m not twitching. Yet. The bad stuff gets cancelled out by the Omega goodness of salmon, right?

Raw furikake salmon

Recipe for Furikake Salmon Salad with Ginger-Miso Vinaigrette
Recipe 135 of 365

Furikake is a dried mixture of spices, sesame seeds, and seaweed used frequently in Japan to flavor rice. It’s also an easy way to lend flavor to salmon. Serve this as a salmon salad, with the salmon on top, or as a more traditional dinner with a side of sticky or brown rice.

Look for furikake (I tend to buy the one that looks like it has the most seaweed in it) in the Asian section of a large grocery store.

TIME: 15 minutes
MAKES: 4 servings

4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds salmon (from near the head), cut into 4 equal portions
2 tablespoons furikake
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons white miso paste
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, or to taste
4 big handfuls salad mix

Preheat a large nonstick pan over medium heat.

Drizzle 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil evenly over the salmon pieces, and sprinkle each piece with about half a tablespoon of the furikake. Place the pieces furikake-side down (if you’re using nonstick, you shouldn’t need to oil the pan further) and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the salmon skin-side down and cook another 4 or 5 minutes, or until the salmon is light pink all the way up the sides. (You want the salmon to remain a little translucent in the center.)

While the salmon cooks, whisk the vinegar, miso, and ginger in a bowl to blend. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil and the vegetable oil (3 tablespoons if you like sharp vinaigrettes, 4 tablespoons if you prefer a less vinegary taste), and whisk again. Pile the salad on plates, drizzle with the vinaigrette, and serve with the hot salmon.

5 Comments

Filed under fish, japanese, recipe, salad

5 responses to “A cat named Mochi

  1. Eric

    I had a cat named Mochi. I had to put my friend to rest yesterday.

  2. Ooohhh sadness. Rest in peace.

  3. Arlana

    I have a cat named Mochi! We live in Hawaii, the mecca of stray cats. He’s very cute and lovable, and really likes the mochi ice cream balls, so of course I had to name him after his favorite foods. He even comes when we call his name.

  4. Arlana – quite impressive. It IS the best cat name evah.

  5. adrian

    My cat is named Mochi too! He’s a white and orange Turkish Van, found as a stray kitten in Toronto, Canada. His nicknames include: Moch Moch, The Moch-Man, Mochi-cute (or Mr. Mochi Cute) and Mochi-Sama.

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