The barter system is still thriving in the sailing community. One of my favorite trades was on Elephant Island in San Blas. I traded some banana bread for a winch handle. I was delighted with my side, but the Australian couple seemed equally pleased with their banana bread. The woman even threw in some clothes she liked the bread so much! That isn’t quite the norm though.
At Shelter Bay marina by Colon, Panama was a party every night. Not only were the fabulous people from WARC 2014 there, but as with most marinas there were interesting people living on many of the boats. We befriended one megayacht’s crew, a young South African surfer and a wry Brit. They had caught an enormous tuna a few days earlier and asked me if I wanted any of the meat.
I jumped on the offer and told them that I would cook them dinner with it. This kind of barter on boats is a lot more common. Very few yachts have a ton of freezer space and even fewer have a flash freezer. When a crew of four catches a 20-lb tuna you’re a) going to be eating a lot of tuna for a while and b) will have to give away at least some of it if you don’t want to throw it away.
This leads to quite a few presents and exchanges of fish between yachties. And if you’re given fish it only makes sense to cook it for your patron.
What could we do with delicious fresh tuna though? Sashimi was an option, of course, but that was more of a starter. We needed something for a lovely dinner party.
I first tried chirashi sushi, or chirashizushi in Argentina when my lovely friend Machiko invited me over for dinner. I fell in love with it from the first bite. Chirashizushi means “scattered” sushi and it is also a favorite in Japanese home cooking. Since then I have tried chirashi sushi in a restaurant, rice with decadent slabs of sashimi, but I really prefer the homemade variety.
It isn’t hard to make, and like so many Japanese dishes it looks beautiful. If you bring chirashi sushi you will be sure to be the hit of the dinner party.
Charter Chirashi Sushi
- 4 cups short grained or sushi rice
- 1 packet Tamanoi Sushinoko sushi rice seasoning powder
- 3 lbs fresh tuna (3-days old is ideal)
- Pickled daikon, thinly sliced or shredded
- Nori, cut into thin strips
- Kazimi ginger (pink pickled ginger in thin strips)
- 2 eggs
- Cook rice
- Spread in large bowl, and fan to cool
- Gently fold in sushi rice seasoning powder using flat rice spoon
- You shouldn’t make the sushi rice so far in advance that you need to refrigerate it. In fact, it should never be refrigerated. The ideal sushi rice is served at body temperature.
- Spread on a flat platter
- Beat the eggs and cook 2 minutes over medium heat in small square skillet if you have one. A small skillet will do.
- Flip and cook the other side about 1 minute
- Turn onto cutting board and cut into thin strips (it’s called tamagoyaki)
- Cut fish into bite-sized chunks
- Arrange fish, kazami ginger, tamagoyaki, nori strips, and pickled daikon strips over rice
- Serve and enjoy!