In a medium bowl, mix together the chopped salmon, sesame oil, soy sauce, and mint leaves. Place a sheet of nori, shiny side down, on a work surface. Place 1/4 cup of the rice on the left side of the nori sheet. Using wet fingers, form the rice into a 3-inch square, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Place about 2 tablespoons of the salmon mixture, diagonally, in a 1/2-inch wide strip, on the rice, with the top of the salmon mixture facing the top left corner. Place a spear of asparagus on top of the salmon. Starting with the bottom left corner, roll the nori over the filling. Continue to roll, ice cream cone-fashion, working towards the right corner of the nori. Seal the edge of the hand roll with water or a few grains of the cooked rice. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Arrange on a serving platter and serve with wasabi, sweet pickled ginger and soy sauce.
Yield: 8 hand rolls
*Can be found at specialty Asian markets
Place the rice and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the vinegar over the rice and mix with a fork. Transfer the cooked rice to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Allow the rice to cool completely before using.