Blade Runner: Smoked Salmon Sushi Recipe

Year Released: 1982
Directed by: Ridley Scott 
Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer
(R, 117 min.)
Sciene Fiction, Action and Adventure

All those moments will be lost in time, like”  Replicant Roy Batty

Take yourself back to the 80s for this science fiction classic starring a very young and handsome Harrison Ford.  With the advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, it is amazing that so many ideas suggested in the film are no longer science fiction.

In his tittle role Ford plays Rick Deckard, a burned out L.A. policeman manipulated back into service to “retire” a rogue group of “replicants” (androids) already creating mayhem in the city.  “Retire” being the discrete word for hunting down and killing them. 

Early in the 21st century, the Tyrell Corporation advanced robot evolution into the NEXUS phase – a being virtually identical to a human – known as a replicant.  The NEXUS replicants were superior in strength and agility, and at least equal in intelligence to the genetic engineers who created them.  Replicants were used off-world as slave labor in the hazardous exploration and colonization other other planets. 

After a bloody mutiny by a NEXUS 6 combat team in an off-world colony, replicants were declared illegal on earth under penalty of death.  Special police squads – blade runner units – had orders to shoot to kill, upon detection, any trespassing replicant.  This was not called execution.  It was called retirement.

Probably the first thing that hits you about the movie is the atmosphere and mood.  It is a dystopian world – dark, wet, and oppressive.  L.A. is a crumbling city of constant rain, the only light artificial, casting a blue neon glow as cold as its numbed inhabitants.  Though it was filmed in the early 80s and supposedly takes place very close to our current time period, the film simmers in the film noir 40s.  Rachel (Sean Young), the supposed niece of the Tyrell CEO, vamps around with padded shoulders and Joan Crawford hair, a femme fatale on the outside, a young innocent within. Early on we even have Deckard doing some voice-over narration a la Philip Marlow or Sam Spade, but the effect seems artificial here.  (The voice over was dropped in the acclaimed Director’s cut released in 1992.)

While much of the film deals with Deckard chasing down and killing the 4 replicants on his list – when he isn’t fending off their attacks on him – the film also explores some age old themes along the way. 

Who am I?  The existential question is as old as time.  It is one that Rachel begins to ask as she starts to suspect that she is a replicant herself.  But she has memories and photos of herself and her mother.  The memories are implanted, Deckard suggests in a brutally frank moment, but then he tries to take it back and sends her away.

Deckard himself wonders who he really is as well, especially after he kills one of the replicants.

The report read "Routine retirement of a replicant." That didn't make me feel any better about shooting a woman in the back.

Is he no more than “…a goddamned one-man slaughterhouse,” as his superior labels him?  Some even wonder if Deckard himself is a replicant, an idea hinted at in the director’s cut, but not very apparent in the original theatrical release. 

Then there is Roy (Rutger Hauer) a replicant of near genius intellect, whose quest to stave off his built-in 4 year mortality reminds us perhaps of Gilgamesh, the demi-god of the Sumerian epic who set out to find the meaning of life and some way of defeating death. 

Although he is violent, deadly, and unpredictable, Roy is more alive and emotionally connected than the so-called humans who created him.  His final speech, which the actor Rutger Hauer edited and improvised, reflects a deeper understanding of the fragility of life than any human character in the film:

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like

This classic has aged well and is even more apt in today’s world than it was upon its release.  Whether you see the original theatrical release available on Netflix or ferret out the director’s or final cut, this is a classic you shouldn’t miss. And it is definitely worth seeing again as well.

–Kathy Borich



Film-Loving Foodie 

Blade Runner Rick Deckard is called back into service to “retire” (euphemism for “kill”) 4 replicants  (humanoid robots) who have gone rogue.  He has tired of all the killing and left his job as a special agent of the Los Angeles Police Department, but reluctantly takes on the job when faced with thinly veiled threats.

Soon Deckard finds he is just as much the hunted as the hunter, but before all that he does have time to sit down to a quick meal of sushi.  As he eats it, Deckard ways, “Sushi. That's what my ex-wife called me - cold fish.”

Even if Deckard doesn’t seem to enjoy his sushi – and not much of anything else, until he meets the lovely Rachel – I am sure you will love this version featuring smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Enjoy, especially if you are not a cold fish yourself.

Smoked Salmon Sushi


           2 sheets nori (dry seaweed)

            1 cup uncooked medium grain white rice

            1 1/4 cups water

            1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

            1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar

            1 pinch salt

            3 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into thin strips, divided

           2 teaspoons crushed garlic, divided

            1/2 cup crushed cashews, divided

            2 green onions, finely chopped,

            2 ounces smoked salmon, cut into strips

            soy sauce

            wasabi paste


Wash the rice in several changes of water until the rinse water is almost clear, then drain well. Place the rice and 1 1/4 cups water into a large saucepan with a lid, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Simmer the rice until the top looks dry and the water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and allow to sit covered for 20 more minutes to steam.

Mix the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt into the rice with a wooden spoon, and spread the rice out onto a metal sheet pan to cool.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Put the first sheet of nori in the oven for 4 minutes to soften. Remove and place shiny-side down on a plastic-wrapped bamboo mat, so the longer side is left-to-right. (The wrap is not essential, but helps keep things clean.) With wet hands, press a layer of rice onto the nori, leaving a 1/2-inch margin on the edge nearest you, and an inch on the farthest-away side. The layer should be roughly 1/2-inch deep, and as flat as possible.

Lay half the slices of cream cheese in a horizontal line in the center of the sheet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon garlic, half the crushed cashews, and half the spring onions. Arrange half the strips of smoked salmon next to the cream cheese.

Pick up the edge of the bamboo rolling sheet, fold the bottom edge of the sheet up, enclosing the filling, and tightly roll the sushi into a firm cylinder. Brush a line of water across the remaining edge of the nori sheet, and press and roll the sheet to seal the roll together. Once the sushi is rolled, wrap it in the mat and gently squeeze to compact it tightly. Repeat with the second sheet of nori and the remaining fillings.

Cut each roll into 6 slices using a very sharp, wet knife. Have a damp paper towel handy to wipe off any residue, and wet the blade with water for each cut. Serve with soy sauce and wasabi paste.