Beluga Whale with fresh Sea asparagus!
This summer we catered the Healthy Summer Celebration Dinner for the Alaska Native Health Board.
One of the highlights was serving Indigenous foods to the attendees.
Below is the recipe, this was originally in First Alaskans Magazine, October 2012.
In the early days of Arctic exploration scientist were puzzled by the fact that the Inuit did not suffer from scurvy despite having no citrus fruits in their diet. The disease that plagued sailors during the Age of Discovery through World War I can cause shortness of breath and bone pain. The skin becomes rough and is easily bruised and can lead to jaundice, fever, gum disease, convulsions and a long slow death.
Muktuk, as it turns out, is an excellent source of Vitamin C, containing as much of this crucial vitamin as you would get from eating an orange. Whale blubber is also high in omega-3 fatty acids which prevent heart disease.
Found in brackish water along beaches, sea asparagus, also known as glasswort, pickleweed and sea beans is also chock full of health benefits. The leafy plant is also helpful at preventing scurvy, but has so many other properties it’s earned near “superfood” status. Although praised by English physician Nicholas Culpepper for its digestive properties in the 17th Century, the tiny green plant is more than an antiflatulent. It is also a great source of iodine, Vitamins A, C, B2, B15, and D, and a host of essential minerals that nourish the body’s organs, skin and cellular DNA and helpful in preventing strokes.
Traditional foods in Alaska, both sea asparagus and muktuk are considered delicacies around the world.
Chef Rob Kinneen’s Sushi Roll with Sea Asparagus and Muktuk
FOR THE RICE
-2 cups sushi (short grain) rice
-2 cups water
-2 T sugar
-2 T rice wine vinegar
1. Rinse the sushi rice three times, or until the water runs clear.
2. In a pot, bring water to a boil. Add rice, stir, cover and let cook on low for 15 minutes.
3. Let rice sit for another 10 minutes with heat off.
4. In a glass bowl, spread rice out, and fold in with sugar, salt and vinegar, set aside.
FOR THE SUSHI
-Nori seaweed paper
-Cooked sushi rice.
-Carrot-cut julienne (matchstick size)
-Cucumbers-cut julienne (matchstick size)
-Sea asparagus -fresh or canned is OK
-Muktuk -sliced thin
1. Place nori shiny side down.
2. Place about 3/4 cup of cooked rice on the nori.
3. Spread out evenly over the nori, if more is needed, that is OK-Be sure to leave about 1/2 inch on each side to complete roll.
4. In the center of the roll, place carrot, sea asparaugs, cucumber or sprouts, and muktuk -1/2 to 3/4 oz. per ingredient is fine.
5. Roll rice, be sure to keep ingredients in the center, and apply pressure to the nori.
6. Cut the roll in 1/2, then each half into 4. A roll should make 8 pieces.
Serve with wasabi, soy sauce ( to keep gluten free serve tamari ).
When spreading rice on nori roll, keep a little bowl of water to dip fingers into so rice does not stick to your fingers.