Earth is a grand place to live. Just think about all of the pizza we’ve got here! And all of the other deliciously different foods on the planet, of course. We sure do love pizza, but our hearts are still wide open when it comes to food. We LOVE food.
Eat The Pizza was born from that fiery passion for food deep down in our bellies. We’re adventuring towards new flavors, new textures, new experiences with glorious food—and pizza is our vessel for exploration! Thank YOU so much, fellow pizza freaks, for coming along for the ride and inspiring us with new ideas. After many requests, we are bringing you guys SUSHI PIZZA this week!
We’re not talkin’ about pizza-flavored sushi (although, that is a thing), but a pizza made from all sushi ingredients! If you’re also a sushi freak like we are, you’re probably breaking into celebratory dance right about now. You’re welcome. We had some challenges and mishaps along the way…but we were ultimately sushi-cessful! You can check out the episode and our sushi pizza recipe, which we’ve shared below.
If you’re not much of a sushi fan, that’s okay—but don’t go away just yet! Maybe, like 1 in 3 Americans, you’ve never tried sushi. Well, good news: most people who have tried sushi say it was better than they expected! Or, maybe you have given it a go and just weren’t into it. To that, we say: give it another chance. Not all sushi is created equal! And also, have you tried a sushi pizza?
The Legend of Sushi
Believe it or not, the history of sushi extends far back in history—beyond the California roll. The earliest known record of sushi traces back to Southeast Asia centuries ago, when people began placing salted fish in cooked rice. The fish caused the rice to ferment, and that rice fermentation helped to preserve the fish! Seafood could last longer, and the combination was obviously scrumptious. But where did sushi come from? Who’s the genius inventor of the cuisine??
We may never know for certain, but we’re inclined to believe the ancient Japanese wives’ tale. It’s said that an old woman was trying to protect her pots of rice from thieves, so she hid them in osprey nests. After some time, she went to retrieve her precious pots and saw the rice had begun to ferment. While in the osprey’s nest, she also found some fish scraps left behind. Naturally, she decided to mix them into her rice. Legend credits this brave, fish-scrapping woman with taking a bite and discovering the wonder that would become sushi!
What Does Sushi Mean, Anyway?
Sushi has now become a blanket term for the raw seafood we enjoy in mass quantities and attempt to eat with chopsticks (particularly in the U.S.). But, the word “sushi” actually refers to the vinegared rice, not the fish itself! Sushi rice is generally Japanese short-grain white rice, seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and salt. The raw fish is called sashimi, which translates pretty darn literally: “sashi” means cut, and “mi” means body. Sashimi is traditionally sliced and can be enjoyed on its own, but we typically see it rolled up in rice and pressed seaweed paper (a.k.a. nori).
What we call “sushi rolls” are known as maki, and they’re actually not so popular in Japan! (Really, sushi in general isn’t eaten as often by people in Japan as it is in the U.S.) The other main type of sushi is nigiri, which is typically sliced sashimi on top of a small dollop of sushi rice. Contrary to popular belief, you can actually eat sushi with your hands! With nigiri, it’s customary to remove the sashimi slice with chopsticks, dip the fish in soy sauce, return it to the rice dollop, and then eat it by hand. Plus, there’s even a finger-food sushi “handroll” known as temaki, with ingredients rolled into a nori sheet that’s shaped like an ice cream cone!
But, if there are any non-sushi-freaks out there who aren’t big fans of raw fish, or fish in general, don’t worry. Not all seafood used in sushi is served raw. Look for menu options with seafood like crab, shrimp, octopus, and eel, which are all cooked before being rolled into maki or sliced for nigiri. And, not all sushi contains fish. You can find plenty of sushi made with just vegetables, as well as an ngiri sushi topped a sweet egg omelet (known as tamago). Sushi pushes the limits, and we dig that. It’s versatile, it’s all-inclusive—it’s a lot like pizza.
Pizza & Sushi: Strange Bedfellows…Or Are They?
Believe it or not, sushi pizza is real culinary phenomenon. It’s a spin-off of traditional Japanese sushi, but it originated in Canada—supposedly. In 1992, a Japanese sushi chef in Montreal claimed that she invented the pizza-fied delicacy. Now, it’s become one of Toronto’s signature dishes, and even spread to the Northeastern U.S.
It may seem like an unlikely pair—I mean, sushi has no dough, no tomato sauce, no cheese, it’s not even cooked…But sushi and pizza have some similarities, if we go waaay back. Before refrigerators were around, sushi had to be handled differently. Chefs would fillet carp, pack their fillets in vinegar rice, and leave them to age for up to three years. (Some old-school sushi spots in today’s modern Japan still follow this method.) That aging process created a fermented fish, known as funa-zushi, the earliest form of sushi, which is said to taste like a pungent cheese!
Seems like sushi’s been vying for a pizza-tastic makeover for some time now. Luckily its wishes were granted. Rather than emulating pizza’s delectable flavors in a sushi roll, the sushi is transformed and flattened into an ingenious, pizza-like structure. The “crust” is made from a crispy-chewy rice patty that’s deep-fried (YUM). Then, enter the layers of sushi toppings: sliced avocado; salmon, tuna, or crab meat; a drizzle of wasabi mayo. Cut into wedges, and you’ve got yourself a bona fide sushi pizza! It’s a fusion you can’t refuse.
Eat The Sushi Pizza
We respect the traditional sushi pizza. It’s a pizza, after all. And, we’re not just pizza freaks—we’re also sushi freaks. So, with all due respect to the OG sushi pizza, we thought we could top that. (HA!) Because we like our sushi like we like our pizza: LOADED. (Unless it’s a plain cheese pie, of course.)
We’re getting wild with some of the classic sushi-pizza add-ons, like nori sheets, pickled ginger, salmon roe, and chopped green onions. But, we’re also comin’ atcha with some twists: cream cheese “pizza sauce,” cucumber “pepperonis,” and sesame seeds as “grated parmesan” topping. Check out the recipe for yourself, and get creative!
Pizza puts no limits on us, so put no limits on your pizza. Unroll your favorite sushi, make it a pizza pie, and eat the pizza already!
1 cup of sushi rice (enough to fill your skillet), cooked and seasoned
- cream cheese (as “sauce,” we used whipped cream cheese!)
- nori sheets
- 1 avocado, sliced
- cucumber slices
- ½ lb sushi grade salmon, cubed or sliced
- pickled ginger
- salmon roe
- green onion, finely chopped
- white toasted sesame seeds
- black sesame seeds
- ½ cup mayo
- 1-3 Tbsp wasabi paste (to taste)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Cook sushi rice according to package instructions.
- Place sushi rice on a skillet heated to medium heat. Cook until starting to brown on the bottom. (Beware of burning/smoking/charring…)
- Transfer sushi crust to a plate and allow to cool slightly.
- Spread on cream cheese “sauce.”
- Layer on cut nori sheets, avocado slices, cucumber slices, and sushi-grade salmon (or sushi-grade fish of choice!).
- Top with pickled ginger, salmon roe, green onion, and sesame seeds.
- Drizzle on wasabi mayo, slice into pieces, and EAT that sushi PIZZA!
Yields 1 sushi pizza, cut into 6 slices