Do you remember that episode of 'Friends' where Rachel and Phoebe go to a self-defense class. Ross then responds that they might be able to handle a fight that they know is coming but they require "unagi," which is a state of total awareness, in order to sense danger. Rachel says, "Isn't that a type of sushi?" and Phoebe chimes in, "Yeah it is! It's freshwater eel," and Rachel says, "Ooh, I would kill for a salmon skin roll right now."
When I first watched that episode, I hadn't yet eaten salmon skin rolls. I've always been a sushi snob and I didn't want to waste stomach space with (what I thought was) a sub-par roll. Turns out, salmon skin rolls are awesome. The skins are fried until crispy and they're basically like sushi bacon. And because salmon skin is crazy cheap (basically $1 per skin because it would be discarded otherwise), it's totally worth making at home.
I like to add watercress for some spice and crunch, cucumber for freshness, and avocado for creaminess. Finish the rolls off with a drizzle of sweet eel sauce and dig in! —Rach Kim
Add rice to a large bowl and swirl under cold running water and rinse 2 to 3 times to remove some of the starch. Add rice and water to a rice cooker (or a pot over low heat) and cook until water is absorbed and rice is tender (about 10 to 12 minutes on the stovetop).
Scoop rice into a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil and then pour over the rice and sprinkle in the sesame seeds. Carefully stir (so as not to mash up the grains of rice) to season the rice.
Salmon Skin Roll
SALMON SKINS: Rinse and thoroughly dry the salmon skins. Lay out on a parchment-lined sheet pan, sprinkle with a little salt, and broil on high for 4 to 7 minutes until crispy and golden. Cool completely on a wire rack and then cut into strips.
EEL SAUCE: In a small saucepan, combine tamari, brown sugar, and mirin. Heat over low until the sugar dissolves and the sauce reduces by half and is thickened.
ROLLS: Assemble the sushi. Lay down a piece of nori and spread on the rice in a thin layer. Lay some salmon skins, cucumber, avocado, and cress along one edge. Roll up tightly and then slice into bite-sized portions. Finish by drizzling the pieces with some eel sauce.
*Alternatively, you can make an inside-out roll by laying on the rice, sprinkling with some sesame seeds and then flipping it over onto a piece of clingfilm before adding the ingredients to the nori-side and rolling up.