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Sashimi and Crudo at Home


David Ross
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I’ve never attempted making Sashimi or Crudo at home-until tonight. I think it was because of a lack, or fear, that I wouldn’t be able to find the high-quality fresh seafood that I would need to duplicate the dishes I’ve had in restaurants. But temptation got the best of me and after I found some beautiful Dayboat Scallops at the local seafood store, I decided to try my first attempt at “Sashimi-Style Scallops” at home.

The Asian Grocery was already on my list of stops, so I gathered a few items that I thought might accent the Scallops.

I sliced the Scallop into four thin slices, then dressed with black peppercorn chili oil, toasted sesame oil and soy sauce. I only added a few drops of each oil so as not to overpower the Scallop yet give it some flavor and a bit of heat. The little greens are something I found called “rice paddy herb.” I have no idea if they are the leaves of a rice plant, but they have a slightly tangy, peppery flavor like arugula.

The Salad is a mixture of julienned carrot and pickled radish, dressed with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar and sugar. Again being sensitive so as not to over-season the salad so it would take away from the taste of the Scallop.

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What could be easier? Fresh seafood, a few seasonings, a dash of oil, some simple greens or a garnish. And it was delicious.

What is your favorite style of Sashimi or Crudo that you make at home?

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Looks good.

I bought a pack of frozen scallops from Trader Joe's. It was labeled "Sashimi Quality". But I sous vided them instead.

You may want to grow some Perilla. While not a perennial herb, it re-seeds readily. You get so much every year.

dcarch

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, how could I resist not using some fresh Copper River Salmon in a simple crudo dish with preserved lemon oil, applewood-smoked black pepper and fresh Chive Blossoms?

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I've done something very similar with the trader joes 'sashimi quality' scallops that DCarch mentioned earlier! Just defrosted in water, sliced thin, and then a little soy sauce and sesame oil. They were wonderfully sweet and delicious, not a hint of anything off!

I also tried them sous vide a couple nights ago which worked nicely too, but I think I'll go with raw again soon.

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My favourite raw dish I've created is inspired by something I came across flicking through an old Creole cookbook I found.

I make a white gazpacho with cucumber, eschallot, sour cream, lime, verjuice, sugar syrup, herbs and chardonnay vinegar, and serve it with a tartare of wahoo (it's my favourite raw fish because of its extremely buttery texture and delicate flavour ... we've also used tuna and hiramasa kingfish) dressed with apple, lime, mint and chives. Absolutely delicious.

James.

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There are few pleasures in life like tuna sashimi, simply the act of thinly slicing a good tuna is enough to anchor my soul to the kitchen, the act of dipping each thin slice in but a dash of soy sauce proof of heaven on earth. It's stark simplicity a reminder of true happiness, it's complex flavors proof of life's beauty. In the summer it cools, in the winter it reminds one of the days of summers past.

Truly there is no food more worthy.

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them."

-Winston Churchill

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Just to add a note of caution...

I'm all for making sashimi at home, and David's photos are making my mouth water on the other side of the world. But it's important to note that really fresh fish- as in fish that hasn't been frozen or is even freshly caught- may contain parasites that pose health risks.

The 'sashimi quality' label is not related to the quality of the fish, it simply indicates that it has been deep frozen for a long enough period to kill any parasites or eggs. It's a disappointing fact that sashimi made from fish that has been frozen is safer than that which is made from a freshly caught fish.

It's not some misplaced paranoia, in 'Modernist Cuisine' there's a photograph of a worm emerging from a piece of fish they bought at a supermarket- I vaguely recall Bourdain mentioning something about worms in fish in his first book, although I can't recall if he was discussing sashimi.

My mate had the good fortune to marry a sushi chef and we had visions of going fishing and eating the freshest possible sushi and sashimi. But to be safe we have to restrict ourselves to buying 'sashimi quality' fish from a reputable fishmonger...

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Worms have been a part of fresh ocean fish from time immemorial. Usually the processor scans (sometimes they are back lit) for worms but some do get to retail. It's just apart of the purchasing process.

A lot of sashimi quality fish as correctly stated is frozen to kill parasites and some communities even have ordinances that require only previously frozen fish be served in restaurants raw and they check invoices(my community is one of them).

That said, for fresh unfrozen seafood, I only purchase from vendors that I know understand the meaning of top quality sashimi grade product. For day boat scallops its Browne Trading and for most other fish its Mitsuwa in Chicago. Despite what a lot of fishmongers will tell you or post, the quality of their 'sashimi' grade is not high.

As to prep for scallops, I only use lemon or if I can obtain it, fresh Yuzu rind.

I just pickded up a copy of 'The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving', of which I hope to enhance my preparation skills.

Another essential for sashimi prep is a good quality sashimi knife, it doesn't have to be a Morimoto brand but just about any knife made in Japan will do the job. Sharp cuts and untorn flesh are essential to the beauty of the prep.

If you are lucky to obtain scallops in the shell, a scallop knife from Morty the Knifeman will help remove that beautiful creature.-Dick

Edited by budrichard (log)
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Thank you for pointing out the importance of food safety when purchasing seafood to be used for Sashimi or Crudo at home. But I have to wonder, what does freezing do to the structure of the proteins in raw fish? Do small ice crystals form within the meat, watering it down when thawed? Is Sashimi cut from a frozen/thawed fish going to have the same pure flavor as Sashimi cut

from a fresh fish?

Right now we are in the closing days of a 12-day sport-fishing season for Spring Halibut in the Puget Sound region. A lady I work with has gone out twice with her husband and they've been catching their limits with fish running in the 30-60lb. range. It's normal for the halibut to have what we call "sea worms" in their innards, but it's simply a matter of cutting them out. There is no harm to the pristine, clean, white fillets of the halibut, and it is delicious raw and thinly sliced. I'm not definitively saying that one can eat raw halibut that had worms in its gut, I'm just saying it's never harmed me or the folks I know who catch it fresh.

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Thank you for pointing out the importance of food safety when purchasing seafood to be used for Sashimi or Crudo at home. But I have to wonder, what does freezing do to the structure of the proteins in raw fish? Do small ice crystals form within the meat, watering it down when thawed? Is Sashimi cut from a frozen/thawed fish going to have the same pure flavor as Sashimi cut

from a fresh fish?

Right now we are in the closing days of a 12-day sport-fishing season for Spring Halibut in the Puget Sound region. A lady I work with has gone out twice with her husband and they've been catching their limits with fish running in the 30-60lb. range. It's normal for the halibut to have what we call "sea worms" in their innards, but it's simply a matter of cutting them out. There is no harm to the pristine, clean, white fillets of the halibut, and it is delicious raw and thinly sliced. I'm not definitively saying that one can eat raw halibut that had worms in its gut, I'm just saying it's never harmed me or the folks I know who catch it fresh.

In my experience, the process of freezing turns the flesh far too mushy to be eaten raw. I guess the ice crystals force the flesh fibres apart. Cryovac bags help this a little, but it's still not good enough for raw purposes in my book. All fish loses the 'fresh' flavour as it gets older. Even a fish that's had a few days in the fridge will taste quite different from one fresh caught that morning.

Wahoo often have the same sort of parasites in the flesh of their belly flaps. They are completely harmless as long as you cut around them.

Edited by Broken English (log)

James.

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as far as I know, any fish sold raw as sushi in California HAS to be previously frozen to kill those parasites. So, while freezing it most likely does have some influence on the texture, I would never know, since that's just the way the fish comes here.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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as far as I know, any fish sold raw as sushi in California HAS to be previously frozen to kill those parasites. So, while freezing it most likely does have some influence on the texture, I would never know, since that's just the way the fish comes here.

Yes I believe the same is true here in BC. Also we do not have much of a day fishery here. Most boats are out for a few days and freeze fish on the boat as they are caught.

Edited to add: Coincidentally this thread was revived today: Wormy Fish

Edited by barolo (log)

Cheers,

Anne

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In my experience, the process of freezing turns the flesh far too mushy to be eaten raw.

I assume you're talking about freezing yourself in a domestic freezer? I think the effect that freezing has on fish depends on how it is done, and the industrial processes are much less severe. Certainly tuna are deep-frozen at sea, so even when you read about a new record being set for the price of a tuna at auction, which seems to happen every so often, that record-price-setting tuna has been frozen. I think they use liquid nitrogen, or at least a slurry of dry ice and liquid nitrogen, which doesn't harm the flesh as much.

I noticed that a thread on 'wormy fish' has been bumped up, it contains a few statistics from Modernist Cuisine in one of the newer posts. The risk is very slight...

But while it's good to know there is a potential risk from eating raw fresh fish, I think the risk of getting food poisoning from eating an oyster is far higher, but it's never harmed their popularity. It just goes with the territory...

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In my experience, the process of freezing turns the flesh far too mushy to be eaten raw.

I assume you're talking about freezing yourself in a domestic freezer? I think the effect that freezing has on fish depends on how it is done, and the industrial processes are much less severe. Certainly tuna are deep-frozen at sea, so even when you read about a new record being set for the price of a tuna at auction, which seems to happen every so often, that record-price-setting tuna has been frozen. I think they use liquid nitrogen, or at least a slurry of dry ice and liquid nitrogen, which doesn't harm the flesh as much.

I noticed that a thread on 'wormy fish' has been bumped up, it contains a few statistics from Modernist Cuisine in one of the newer posts. The risk is very slight...

But while it's good to know there is a potential risk from eating raw fresh fish, I think the risk of getting food poisoning from eating an oyster is far higher, but it's never harmed their popularity. It just goes with the territory...

I've never worked in a kitchen that has used liquid nitrogen, so I don't have any basis for that. I was referring to freezing conventionally, either cryovaccing and freezing or just freezing as most people would at home. I assume using liquid nitrogen, the principle is the same as that in ice cream, whereby the freezing occurs so quickly that there is no time for ice crystals to form, which I guess, would leave the texture a great deal better.

Still, I would submit that fresh is better, it doesn't matter how quick the freezing occurs, I would think that the process would strip some of the essential characteristics that fresh caught fish has. I have no real basis, and am happy to be proven wrong, but that's my feeling. Maybe it's just the enhanced perception gained when you know the fish was pulled from the water less than 24 hours before that provides the majority of the difference between the two products. It would be quite interesting to have a blind tasting of the two.

There may be a slight risk with worms, but again, I think there's a hell of a lot of bigger risks in the food world, like you mentioned.

James.

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"so even when you read about a new record being set for the price of a tuna at auction, which seems to happen every so often, that record-price-setting tuna has been frozen"

What you are reading about occurs at the beginning of the New Year where the first Tuna sold in the New Year for auction conveys a cultural significance to the Japanese market and is sold for a price much higher than normal.

While I would certainly agree that fresh properly processed and kept fish would be better than frozen, I doubt that in most cases one could tell the difference in a blind tasting between fresh and frozen and of course there would no way to reduce the variables by using the same fish! I don't usually concern myself with whether the fish has been frozen but concentrate on evaluation of the fish in question. The frozen fish I see for the consumer market in no way looks like the frozen fish for the sashimi/sushi market.

Most of the fish I do purchase for cooking is fresh or at least i think so!-Dick

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Your home freezer will cause more "damage" than an industrial freezer. The ones they use on the boats and in factories run at extremely low temperatures, basically shock freezing everything very very fast, whereas it takes a good while for things to freeze at home. They also keep things at a much lower temperature, which keeps the items for a much longer time than your home freezer.

I think supermarkets have to state that fish was previously frozen, not sure though, but since it's written on some labels I'd just assume that's the fact.

At a good fish market or fish counter you should be able to find the same fresh quality as any "normal" sushi restaurant though. I don't know if sushi restaurants buy the fish still frozen, which would make sense to me. Maybe they even use a saw to cut off what they think they need for the day? Also would be interesting to know how they thaw it, slow in the fridge, or fast in water?

Problem with fish at the market is that you don't know how long it's been sitting there. You can ask of course, but who knows how true the answer will be....

I read somewhere that it's suggested to freeze your own caught fish for a day (or some amount) as well, if you plan on eating it raw/rare. Since I don't make sushi at home I don't have that link anymore though.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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