How to make a sushi bowl

Rice vinegar, sesame oil and miso paste give tofu a lot of flavor to soak up.
Rice vinegar, sesame oil and miso paste give tofu a lot of flavor to soak up. TNS

Deconstruction once ruled academia. The literary theory insisted that the text (pre-texting) be taken apart, like some Lego castle, and left in pieces on the classroom floor. The game kept professor and student busy for years. Now new fads roam campus, and deconstruction has moved on to the menu.

The enchilada, for instance, no longer dresses for dinner, wrapped and sauced and plated. Now beans and pork and tortilla are heaped side by side and rebranded as the enchilada bowl. Much like the noodle bowl, the smoothie bowl and the brunch bowl.

Not even sushi is safe. Half the fun of sushi is how adorable it is, shaped and stacked and sliced. But the deconstructionists break it down to the basics: rice, fish, veggies and bowl.

Which isn’t all bad. The sushi bowl is easy to make, quick to dispatch and still delicious in both theory and practice. If you don’t favor raw fish, extra-firm tofu works just as well. This takes 30 minutes prep time and 20 minutes to cook and serves three.

▪ One 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, rinsed.

▪ About four tablespoons soy sauce.

▪ One cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced into half-moons.

▪ One avocado, cubed.

▪ One carrot, peeled and shredded.

▪ Two scallions, finely chopped.

▪ Two tablespoon rice vinegar.

▪ Two teaspoons sesame oil.

▪ Quarter teaspoon salt.

▪ One tablespoon mild red or yellow miso paste.

▪ Three cups cooked rice (white, brown, sushi or a combo).

▪ One (0.7-ounce) package crisp seaweed.

Slice the tofu into half-inch-thick slabs. Set slabs on a baking sheet lined with a clean kitchen towel. Cover with a second towel. Weight with another baking sheet. Let drain 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss together cucumber, avocado, carrot and scallion. Season with salt, vinegar, sesame oil and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Whisk together two tablespoons soy sauce and the miso. Cube drained tofu and toss with soy/miso sauce. Spread out on an oiled baking sheet. Roast at 425 degrees, stirring once, 20 minutes.

Add rice, roasted tofu and seaweed to the vegetables. Toss. Add a little more soy if you like. Serve at room temperature.