Menu Magazine Jan11

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Uoriki assists in the development of a superior retail sushi program.

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Menu Magazine Jan11

  1. 1. get rolling with Wegmans More and more people are eating Vegetable Roll—(Shown above) With avocado, cucumber, carrots, and your sushi these days, and it’s no choice of our Wegmans exclusive short- grain white rice or whole-grain brown rice. surprise. It’s fresh, delicious, Green Vegetable Roll— A very and comes with lots of options American version of sushi, with slivers (not just raw fish). If you’ve ever of asparagus, spinach, and cucumber with creamy garlic mayo. been curious to try, or just want Avocado Summer Spring Roll— to learn more about your favorite Green leaf lettuce, cucumber, avocado, and shredded red cabbage, in a lunch, here’s a little sushi 101. transparent spring roll wrapper.70
  2. 2. California Roll—(Shown above) Wasabi Tuna Roll—(Shown above)Featuring our Wegmans exclusive Ahi tuna with cucumber, scallion, andcrabstick (Kanakami), avocado, cucumber, wasabi mayonnaise rolled in nori withand our exclusive short-grain white rice. rice and black sesame seeds.Spicy Lump Crab Roll—One of our Tuna Nigiri—Our sashimi-grade tunasignature items, with cooked crab, spicy has a rich yet delicate flavor.sauce, cucumber, and scallions. Spicy Tuna Roll—Made with ourShrimp Tempura Roll— specialty tuna, spicy sauce, scallions,Tempura-fried shrimp, spicy sauce, and cucumbers, masago (roe), and rice, in ashredded lettuce with tempura krispies nori seaweed wrap.and savory-sweet teriyaki sauce. 71
  3. 3. Wasabi wä-sä-be This spicy-hot horseradish mix is served as a condiment with sushi. Taste the Wegmans Difference The first ingredient in our Nigiri ni-ger-e wasabi is natural Japanese Small pillows of sushi wasabi—a major investment rice topped with raw on our part. Others use or cooked seafood. green food color and horseradish powder. Here are some basic sushi terms to get you started, whether you’re trying our made-to-order rolls or something fresh from our display case. - sü-she “seasoned rice” Taste the Wegmans Difference and see why our sushi is so special. Taste the Wegmans Difference Shrimp From a sustainable Canadian fishery, these Northern Pink Kanikama kän-e-kä-mä Shrimp are light and fantastically Also known as crabstick, this popular sweet. You won’t find these on sushi ingredient is imitation crabmeat any other sushi bar. made from whitefish. Taste the Taste the Wegmans Difference Wegmans Difference Spicy Sauce Our recipe is a Wegmans Another exclusive for us, this blend exclusive: All natural, sustainable of sriracha sauce, hot sesame oil, seafood, with no preservatives, chili oil, and mayo takes any sushi MSG, or gluten. item to another level.72
  4. 4. Nori no-re This traditional Japanese wrap is made using specially processed dried seaweed. Taste the Wegmans Difference Veggie and Fruit Wraps If you want to try something different from the traditional nori seaweed wrap, these are great—especially for the beginner sushi eater. We have flavors like BBQ, carrot- ginger, mango-chipotle, and tomato-basil.Taste the Sashimi sä-she-me Just the fish, cooked or uncooked.Wegmans DifferenceRice Taste theWe’re the only retailer in the US Wegmans Differenceusing this traditional Tamaki Gold Superfrozen bigeye tunashort-grain rice for sushi. Freshly Our richly flavored all-naturalmilled for us in California each tuna is higher in fat thanmonth, it’s simply the best. standard yellowfin. It’s quickly frozen to -67°F right on the boat,Taste the so you get what our supplier callsWegmans Difference “fresher than fresh” taste.Rice VinegarWe worked with our supplier to Taste thecreate our own vinegar blend—it Wegmans Differencedelivers the perfect balance of Salmonsweet, salty, and sour. Our sushi salmon comes from the same British Columbia supplier who provides our Seafood Department’s superb farm-raised salmon. Specially processed to our standards, right near the farm, then shipped straight to us. Pickled ginger This thinly shaved fresh ginger root is a sparkling palate cleanser. Taste the Wegmans Difference We only use smaller ginger root for its superior tenderness. Larger ginger can be woody and tough. Ours is always tender and flavorful. 73
  5. 5. Wegmans sushi: Raising the bar By Janet Fletcher Photography by Yasu Nakaoka America’s appetite for sushi is soaring, and who would have thought it? A generation ago, a sushi dinner meant an exotic night out in a restaurant where you probably didn’t quite know the ropes. Today, many youngsters think of sushi as no more foreign than a slice of pizza—an attitude shift reflected in the spiking sushi sales at Wegmans. Assortment of Wegmans Sushi “Sushi has gone from trendy to mainstream, but most retailers weren’t doing anything special with it,” says John Emerson, executive chef in charge of sushi for all Wegmans stores. “We saw this as a tremendous opportunity to offer something no other food market had.” Wegmans opened its first in-store sushi bar in 1996 and has steadily introduced sushi to more stores and hired more experts. But two years ago, with customer interest so strong, management decided it was time to dive deep: to invest in the education, equipment and ingredients necessary to produce “sushi house-quality” fare. Wegmans knew its sushi was good, but could it be great?74
  6. 6. First stop: Japan. With the help of Uoriki, a companythat operates more than 40 retail seafood markets in Tokyo,Wegmans sent Emerson and three sushi chefs to Japan for animmersion in the sushi craft.Sounds like fun, but the schedule was grueling. On several days,the agenda started at 4 a.m. with a visit to the city’s famed TsukijiFish Market, the largest in the world. At this bustling wholesaleemporium, the Uoriki chefs showed the Wegmans team how theyselect fish from the world’s finest suppliers. The visiting chefsalso learned how to fillet a whole giant tuna in the Japanesemanner, a ritual that typically involves three people and a set ofspecialized knives, including one knife more than six feet long.The American group spent afternoons in Uoriki’s retail stores,assisting their employees as they prepared sashimi and sushi forthe world’s most discriminating audience. In the evenings, theyheaded to restaurants to work side-by-side with top Japanesechefs before sitting down to dinner themselves. Once back in the U.S, the real work began. Every element and ingredient of the Wegmans sushi program was scrutinized in light of what the team had learned. New sources for tuna, rice, vinegar, and even wasabi were researched, taste- tested, and selected. “We were using a cold-smoked tuna that almost everybody in the industry used, but we decided that it wasn’t good enough,” says Emerson. Tuna suppliers had devised the smoking process to preserve tuna’s watermelon-red color. The smoke leaves no taste and keeps the flesh from browning, so the tuna appears fresh even when it isn’t. Wegmans chefs wanted a better alternative. Ironically, Emerson and his team determined that the best, freshest tuna is frozen at sea. Because tuna boats can spend many days on the water, “fresh” tuna can be three weeks old by the time it reaches stores, Emerson learned. In contrast, boats equipped with so-called superfreezers can haul the tuna in live, process them humanely, and chill them to -76˚F—the point at which all cell activity stops—within 20 hours. Michael McNicholas, operations and quality control manager for Uoriki, says “You put a perfect tuna in, you get a perfect tuna out.” At great expense, Uoriki installed superfreezers in Wegmans stores to keep the tuna at peak condition. When thawed, “it is as if they just came out of the water,” says Emerson. Although yellowfin tuna is the norm for retail sushi in the U.S., Wegmans insisted on the higher-fat bigeye, the species preferred Wegmans Chef John Emerson for sushi in Japan. (top photo, in red jacket) led his team on 4 a.m. learning trips Uroiki also worked with Wegmans to improve its kanikama to Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market, (crabstick), a sushi-bar favorite that often includes preservatives followed by daily work with the and MSG. After many tweaks, Chef Emerson got the more city’s best sushi chefs. natural kanikama he wanted, prepared from sustainable seafood without gluten or MSG. 75
  7. 7. Avocado Summer Spring Roll Even the wasabi got an upgrade. At many retail sushi counters, the “wasabi” is actually Western horseradish with chili oil and food coloring. Wegmans wanted the real stuff: authentic, all- natural Japanese wasabi, to complement the other top-shelf ingredients. “You can feel the texture of the real wasabi on your tongue,” says McNicholas. “It has a purer flavor, without a stinging burn.” The heightened quality focus means greater expense, but it’s worth the investment. To be able to offer this authentic wasabi, even the packaging had to change: serving it in airtight packets helps retain its vibrant green color. Bringing it home: Perhaps the most surprising lesson the Wegmans team learned Wegmans’ John in Japan concerned rice and the importance of freshness. Who Emerson helps knew that superior sushi requires rice that has been freshly prep seafood milled? Discriminating Japanese chefs consider the rice too old if at one of our it was milled more than six weeks before. popular in-store Sushi Fests. After considerable legwork and help from Uoriki, Wegmans found a California farm growing the short-grain rice used for sushi in Japan. In fact, the Japanese import this rice and have honored it with awards—the only American rice with that distinction. Even better, the farm operates its own mill and was willing to process rice to order for Wegmans. “It was an enormous investment in quality on our part,” says Emerson of this costly rice. “But I don’t know any other operation that’s getting fresh-milled rice, except Morimoto restaurant in Philadelphia.” For Emerson and his sushi team, the learning adventure hasn’t ended. To show off their newfound skills, they hatched the idea of a Sushi Festival, featuring whole fish flown in from Tsukiji Market and whole tuna that they dispatch with great showmanship in front of shoppers. These festivals, which will continue, have drawn enthusiastic crowds, including many expatriates thrilled to find fish they haven’t seen since leaving Japan. For Wegmans chefs, implementing the finest sushi has been a richly rewarding challenge. Says Chef Emerson, “I never would have imagined I could do this in a retail store.”76

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