Hey there, sushi lover! Ready for a sleek newcomer that’s climbing to the top of the charts at Wegmans Food Markets? It’s got sassy flavors, looks beautiful on a plate, and is even lower in carbs and calories than traditional sushi rolls. Meet “Skinny Sushi,” so popular that it comes in trays that serve one as well as in a Family Pack size.
“Sushi has gone mainstream in America in just one generation,” says John Emerson, an executive chef at Wegmans who traveled to Japan a few years ago to learn the secrets of top chefs in the world’s sushi capital so he could help Wegmans transform its sushi from good to great. Since completing the company-wide upgrade two years ago, Emerson and the Sushi Innovation Team at Wegmans have pushed beyond traditional combinations into new realms that blend Asian and American influences into flavor-filled fusions of sweet, tangy, hot, spicy, and mild.
Skinny sushi is one of the creations from the Sushi Innovation Team. Here’s the “skinny” on this kind of sushi: It’s all yummy filling, with no ring of rice encircling the filling. It’s held together with a paper-thin edible wrap. An eight-piece serving has as little as 100 calories. The six “skinny” flavors now available are:
- Garden Skinny Roll (veggie) - marinated tofu, mango, carrots, cucumber
- Skinny Spicy Tuna Roll (raw) - tuna, cucumber, chili garlic sauce
- Spicy Kampachi Skinny Roll (raw) - cucumber, kampachi, shrimp, mango, roasted red pepper
- Skinny Tuna Watermelon Ceviche Roll (raw) - tuna, lime juice, onion, watermelon, cilantro
- Rainbow Skinny Roll (raw) - salmon, tuna, avocado, cucumber
- Skinny California Roll (cooked) - cooked crab stick, shrimp, cucumber and avocado
For those who like it hot, tantalizing heat from jalapenos, hot sauce and other chilies bring more zing to new varieties. “The Skinny Tuna Watermelon Ceviche Roll is one of our newest combinations, inspired by Central and South American cuisines, which often pair seafood with fruit salsas that have chilies in the mix,” Emerson says. “Ceviche is typically made from raw fresh fish marinated in lemon or lime juice and chili peppers – so it’s citrusy with a little heat. The watermelon we used in this sushi provides a soft accent to the other flavors. I dare you to try it!”
The Spicy Kampachi Skinny Roll, with a sweet, hot, citrusy flavor, is made from a sustainably-farmed fish raised in Hawaii that tastes remarkably like yellowtail tuna. Want still more heat? The Skinny Spicy Tuna Roll, made with chili garlic sauce, comes topped with Sriracha sauce (sometimes called rooster sauce), an Asian hot sauce that’s sweet and garlicky.
Some like it mild, though, and there are Skinny Sushi varieties for them too, like the Skinny California Roll, the Rainbow Roll, or the Garden Skinny Roll. (Just hold the wasabi paste!)
Sushi is a year-round treat, Emerson says, but at certain times, Wegmans’ sushi chefs have their work cut out for them meeting demand. “It starts with New Year’s Day, when many people entertain, and New Year’s resolutions about eating lighter and eating healthier kick in. Game Day in February is another big sushi day, and before long, you’ve got graduation parties with sushi trays. Once hot weather sets in, sushi takes a little breather, but before long, the holiday season beckons, and sushi perks up again.”
The growth of sushi at Wegmans over the last 10 years is nothing short of “astronomical,” Emerson says. “It’s as mainstream as anything else we sell in our Market Cafés. Adults see sushi as healthy, trendy, and convenient – no cooking or prep involved, it’s attractive to look at, and it’s ready to enjoy as soon as you open the package. For kids, seeing sushi at the supermarket is like seeing pizza or sandwiches – it doesn’t seem exotic to them at all, and lots of them really like sushi. It’s great finger food!”