In the West, raw fish has been a way for many to get away from the traditional restaurant stews and steaks of European and American cuisine. Its exotic flavor takes many into a whole new world of flavor.
Sushi in particular served as the launchpad for what many experienced as the raw fish craze. It’s simplicity, low-calorie count, and bountiful flavor was a quick attraction for many – leading to one of the biggest explosions of ethnic cuisine in modern history.
But like with any revolution, there’s a ton of moving parts. Most mainstream connoisseurs only know the basics, but how many actually realize it’s a process as complicated as wine-pairing?
Here, we’ll give you a brief sense of just how delicate it is to pick the right seafood for sushi and sashimi.
Tuna of virtually any sort is always a good option. Be it bluefin, yellowing or bigeye – bonito, albacore, or even skipjack and many other rarer types – tuna has become a staple of the sushi/sashimi world. And no, this isn’t your grandmother’s tuna-in-a-can.
In fact, the taste is not even close. Raw tuna looks like rare steak but is infinitely smoother and best served cold over a mound of sticky rice and seaweed.
Salmon is one of the most diverse kinds of seafood. It can be utilized is a hundred different ways and has been the crux of millions of recipes worldwide.
Of course, this little fish is not without its vices. For starters, salmon is very difficult to obtain fresh. That’s because of its unusually high susceptibility to parasites. Most of even the highest-tiered chefs freeze their salmon before use for this very reason.
These jack fish are a fan favorite. In the sushi and sashimi birthplace, these are commonly referred to as Hamachi.
It’s rich in fat, which means the flavor pairs perfectly with rice and seaweed for use in sashimi, rice balls and sushi. It’s a flavor that pairs well with many other types of profiles, making it one of the most diverse fish on the market.
Other perfectly acceptable options or complimentary side pieces include:
- Halibut or Flounder – also known as hirame in Japanese.
- Scallops and Clams – virtually any kind of shellfish pairs well with sticky rice minus oysters.
- Squid – while never consumed raw, squid can be an excellent addition so long as it is flash cooked for at least a few seconds.
- Mackerel – virtually any kind of mackerel works as well. In Japan, these are called saba or aji, and require treatment by vinegar prior to serving because these are prone to bacteria and other unwanteds.
- Bass – be it seabass, porgies and even snapper, all bass-like fish pairs excellently with the ingredients of sushi. Usually found under the name of tai and Suzuki, these rolls are commonplace in many western sushi shops.
- Crab – Speaking of Western shops, let’s not forget about the almighty California roll, which features crab and avocado. Has there ever been a more perfect union? I think not.
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