Flavorful salmon rolled up in kombu and tied with kanpyo (gourd strips), Salmon Kombu Roll is a traditional Japanese dish for the New Year. Representing the secrets of perennial youth and long life, you may be tempted to devour more than one of these exquisite appetizers.
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword: new year, salmon
Servings: 16salmon kombu rolls
Author: Namiko Chen
8pieceshidaka kombu(Hidaka Kombu (日高昆布) is known for its tender texture after rehydration)
Soak the kombu in 5 cups (1.2 L) of water for 30 minutes. Reserve this kombu water (aka Kombu Dashi), yielding roughly 4 cups, for cooking later.
Soak kanpyo in water for 15 minutes and drain. Quickly rinse kanpyo under running water and rub it with 1 tsp kosher salt. Rinse again and drain well.
In a flat container, add 2 cups (480 ml) of water and 1 tsp kosher salt. Place the uncooked salted salmon fillets and set them aside for 30 minutes to desalinate the salmon. Why do we use salted salmon? Compared to regular salmon, salted salmon releases less protein while simmering.
Remove the salmon from the salted water and gently pat dry with a paper towel.
Using a sharp knife, remove bones off the salmon (if there is any on your fillet).
If you have kitchen tweezers, they help remove the bones from the flesh very easily. Finally, remove the skin.
Cut the salmon fillets into a roughly 3.5 inches x ¾ inches log shape (or any shape that is easy to roll up in the kombu). The width of the salmon should match the width of the kombu.
Wipe off the excess moisture on the kombu with a paper towel.
Wrap the log-shaped salmon with kombu. Pull up the other end of kombu a few times as you roll tightly.
Once all the kombu is rolled up, tie each one with kanpyo. Depends on the width of the kombu, you might need to make 1 to 3 ties. Think about the final serving size and decide on the location of the knots. Here each kombu makes 2 salmon kombu roll pieces as I would be cutting each roll in half. Therefore, I’d need 2 ties/knots.
Place the kombu roll in a large pot (I use Le Creuset 3.5 QT). Add the reserved kombu dashi until kombu is fully submerged, roughly 3 cups. You don’t have to use all of the kombu dashi, but save it just in case you need to add more liquid later.
Add sake and rice vinegar.
Place the Otoshibuta (drop lid - see how we can make it with aluminum foil) on the salmon kombu roll. We do not use a regular lid throughout the cooking process. Once boiling, skim off the foam and scum on the surface. Then cook on a gentle simmer for 1 hour. If the cooking liquid evaporates too fast, add the reserved Kombu Dashi (I did not need to).
Insert a wooden skewer to check if the kombu has become tender.
Once it’s tender, add sugar and half of the soy sauce (1 ½ Tbsp).
Instead of using utensils (that can potentially break down the kombu), hold the pot and swirl it around to mix the seasonings and coat with the food. Cook covered (with otoshibuta) on simmer for 15 minutes.
Add mirin and the rest of soy sauce (1 ½ Tbsp) and cook covered with the otoshibuta on simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the cooking liquid is almost gone. Once it’s done cooking, remove from the heat and let cool.
Once cool enough to handle, cut the kombu in half (if you have 2 ties). If you like, cut off both ends for a better presentation.
To Serve and Store
Serve at room temperature in Osechi Ryori. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7-10 days and you can also freeze the kombu roll.