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You eat the wrapper ... green, black, or purple nori.

If you've eaten sushi, you've encountered nori, parchment-thin drie d seaweed. Tasting faitly of the sea, it makes an edible wrapper for foods far removed from Japanese cuisine.

Green, black, or purple in color, nori is washed, overlapped, and dried to make fragile lightweight sheets. These are cut into several sizes and packaged in many weights. A typical package weighs less than an ounce, contains seven to ten 8- by 8-1/2-inch sheets, and costs from $1.50 to $4, depending on quality and color. Some nori is packed in slivers or confetti-like pieces. kept airtight, nori lasts indefinitely. Look for it in well-stocked supermarkets or Japanese markets.

Roasting gives nori a pleasant toasted flavor. You can buy it already roasted, or do it yourself: hold each sheet with tongs and slide it quickly back and forth across an electric or gas burner set on high. Heat both sides until it turns a shiny, greener hue, about 15 seconds.

Nor quickly absorbs moisture and becomes chewy. If you like it crisp, combine it with foods just before serving.

Cooks who blend elements of Eastern and Western cuisines take advantage of nori's texture, color, and wrapper potential in unexpected ways. Here Janice McCormick of Berkeley uses nori like an edible cocktail napkin to hold juicy shrimp or meatballs for a party appetizer, to make tiny nori rolls as tidbits to go with salads, and to wrap around seasoned cooked rice shaped into thick cakes to make sandwiches you can serve with grilled chicken or beef--plain or with teriyaki seasonings--for an informal meal.

In addition, Mrs. McCormick uses slivers or confetti-size pieces of nori to sprinkle onto sauces, such as hollandaise or mayonnaise, after they are spooned onto egg, fish, or vegetable dishes.

Nori Napkins for Shrimp or Meatballs 15 to 18 sheets nori, each 8 by 8-1/2 inches Marinated shrimp or mustard meatballs (recipes follow)

If desired, roast nori (see preceding). With scissors or a very sharp knife, cut each nori sheet into quarters; stack.

Pour shrimp into a serving bowl. Or serve meatballs from a chafing dish in a hot-water jacket over a flame (or put in a bowl on an electric warming tray). Place nori on a tray or in a basket alongside.

Put a shrimp or meatball on a piece of nori; crumple the nori around the morsel to contain juices as you eat. Serves 16 for appetizers, allowing about 4 pieces as a portion.

Marinated shrimp. Peel and devein 2 pounds medium-size shrimp (30 to 35 per lb.). In a 4- to 5-quart pan, bring about 2 inches of water to boiling on high heat. Add shrimp and simmer until no longer translucent in center (cut to test), about 3 minutes. Drain and let cool.

In a bowl, mix shrimp, 1 cup seasoned rice vinegar for sushi (or 1 cup rice wine vinegar mixed with 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar), 1 teaspoon crushed dried hot red chilies, and 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) or mint. Cover and chill 30 minutes or up to 1 day. Serve cold.

Mustard meatballs. In a bowl, use your hands to thoroughly mix 2 pounds ground lean pork, 2 large egg, 1/2 cup fine dy bread crumbs, and 1/4 cup each soy sauce and mirin (sweet cooking sake) or dry sherry.

Shape meat in 1 level tablespoon portions, then roll each into a ball. Place balls in a single layer and slightly apart in a 10- by 15-inch baking pan. If made ahead, cover and chill meatballs as long as overnight. Bake in a 450 [deg.] oven until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Shake pan often to evenly brown meat.

Whisk together 2 tablespoons each Dijon mustard and lemon juice, and 1/4 cup soy sauce. Pour meatballs into a chafing dish or bowl and mix with sauce. Serve hot.

Nori-wrapped Spinach Bites 3/4 pound spinach 3 sheets nori, each 8 by 8-1/2 inches 1 tablespoon drained capers or salmon caviar

WAsh spinach well; discard roots and coarse leaves. Drain spinach briefly, then put in a 2- to 3-quart pan. Cover and cook on medium heat, stirring, until leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes. Pour into a colander and let cool. (If made ahead, wrap and chill up to 1 day.)

Separate spinach into 6 equal portions. Lay leaves and stems somewhat parallel in each portion and squeeze with your hand to remove excess moisture.

Roast nori as directed, preceding. Then cut each sheet in half. To make each roll, lay 1 portion spinach along a wide edge of nori piece. Arrange spinach to distribute evenly along the edge. Top evenly with 1/2 teaspoon capers. Roll nori tightly around spinach. With scissors or a sharp knife, cut the filled rolls into 1-inch lengths.

Repeat to make 5 remaining rolls. Let rolls stand about 20 minutes so nori will soften and stay rolled. Makes 48 pieces, or 6 servings of about 8 pieces.

Nori-wrapped Rice Sandwiches

This is a simple variation on sushi to serve in place of rice. 2-1/4 cups short-grain rice water About1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar for sushi (or 4 teaspons sugar dissolved in 1/3 cup white wine vinegar) 6 medium-size (2 to 2-1/2 in. caps) dried shiitake mushrooms 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 teaspoons sugar 1/3 cup each diced carrots and green beans 3 sheets nori, each 8 by 8-1/2 inches

In a 3- to 4-quart pan, cover rice with water and stir to rinse; drain. Rinse several more times until water is clear, draining each time. Add 2-1/3 cups water to rice. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low; cook until all water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup seasoned vinegar. Pour rice onto a 10- by 15-inch baking pan; spread out and stir often so it will cool quickly. Let stand until it reaches room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a bowl soak mushrooms in 1 cup warm water until soft, about 15 minutes. Lift mushrooms from water; reserve water. Cut stems from mushrooms and discard. Dice mushroom caps.

In a 1- to 2-quart pan, combine mushrooms, 1/2 cup of the mushroom water (pour carefully to avoid any grit at bottom of bowl), soy sauce, and sugar. Bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, unit liquid is completely evaporated, about 15 minutes; stir often at end of cooking to prevent scorching. Mix mushrooms into rice.

Rinse pan and add 1 inch water. Bring to boiling on high heat and add carrots and green beans; boil, uncovered, until carrots are just slightly softer to bite and beans are bright green, about 30 secondsf drain. Mix into rice.

With your hands dipped in additional vinegar or water, divide rice into 12 equal portions, then shape into traingles about 1 inch thick and 3 inches long. At this point, you can cover rice airftight and hold it at room temperature up to 6 hours.

Before serving, roast nori as directed, preceding, and cut each sheet into 4 strips. Set a rice triangle, point up, across the center of a strip. Fold edges of nori up against rice and press lightly into place.

Serve at once if you want the nori to be crisp; hold it to eat like a sandwich. Makes 12; allow 1 or 2 portions as sidedish servings.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Jun 1, 1985
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