There’s a colossal assortment of raw fish being presented as a wealth of spectacular options. From sea to shining sea, as every ocean yields a bounty of variety. But it can get rather intimidating trying to differentiate the terminology.
For any dish that calls for raw fish, ensure you are buying the freshest fish available. Preferably purchase it the day of preparation, so make friends with the fish monger at the market and let them know you are going to serve it raw. As a bonus, have the skins removed and have it deboned. Stay away from deep sea fish, such as halibut, Atlantic cod or swordfish, as they are mushier in consistency and they may contain parasites (cooking removes that worry, just don’t use them raw). Select tuna, bass, arctic char, grouper, hamachi or salmon. If you are going to favor for a scallop crudo, ensure that you’re only using “dry” scallops and not “wet”.
Some of these preparations call for very thinly sliced fish. Don’t shy away thinking you need the chef-y knife skills of a Japanese sushi pro – just ensure the fish is very cold (place it in the freezer wrapped in some cling film for about 30 minutes) and the knife you are using is very sharp. Lay your hand flat atop the fish filet or scallop, with the knife at a 45-degree angle cut diagonally to make ¼” slices. You don’t want it wafer thin, transparent, but much thinner than for sashimi.
Tartare originates from France and it typically consists of chopped raw beef, heavily seasoned and served with a raw egg yolk on top. Fish tartare is presented with varied flavor profiles and at times it’s served on top creamy avocado or thin slices of crispy crostini. Tuna tartare is the most typical tartare offered, but salmon is a second stellar option.
½ LB of fresh salmon – skins removed and chopped into very small cubes
2 avocadoes – pits removed and cut into small squares
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of the lime
1 TSBP of seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TSP white sesame seeds
½ TSP honey
¼ TSP of wasabi powder
1 TSP toasted sesame oil
3 scallions – only the white parts very finely chopped (or 1 shallot)
1 TBSP capers – drained and finely chopped
½ TPS salt and fresh cracked white pepper
Black caviar (optional)
In a bowl whisk together the sesame seeds, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, zest, pinch of salt, fresh cracked white pepper and the wasabi powder. Add the chopped salmon and the white scallion parts. Mix together and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Mix the chopped avocado with ½ TSP of olive oil, 1 TBSP lime juice some salt and white pepper. On a plate, place a biscuit cutter and spoon some of the avocado on the bottom, top with the salmon tartare and press down as much as possible with spoon to try and compact it. Remove the mold and carefully add some lemon aioli with some black caviar. Serve with some crostini or crispy chips.
Which in Italian mean “skin” and its typically thin slices of raw beef, sliced wafer thin, placed overlapping on a place with a myriad of toppings. The fancier and trendier name now is “crudo”.
½ LB of salmon filets – skin removed
1 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 TSP lemon zest
3 TBSP EVOO
1 TBSP capers – drained
Pinch of kosher salt
Fresh cracked white pepper
Lemon wedges for garnish
1 shallot very finely chopped or some finely chopped scallion (optional)
Micro greens or spring salad for garnish
Dry the salmon filets very well. Wrap them in some plastic wrap and place them in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, soy, salt, pepper and EVOO. Place some of the dressing in some individual serving plates.
Make ¼” slices with a very sharp knife at a diagonal and place them on top of the dressing. Sprinkle capers on top and shallots (if using). Garnish with the microgreens and lemon wedge. Finish with an additional drizzle of EVOO and some more white cracked pepper.
The latest addition to the raw fish list is Hawaiian “poke”, which literally means “cut into chunks”. A format of sashimi and ceviche, it consists of cubed fish, usually tuna or salmon and served with a marinade-type-sauce which sometimes ends up over a bowl over rice. In Hawaii they have eaten raw fish for centuries, since the islands are surrounded by the rich waters of the Pacific. Served with some scallions and a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil and some chili.
AHI TUNA POKE BOWL
1 LB tuna steaks – cubed into bite sized pieces
1 TSP white miso paste
½ TSP honey
Juice of 1 juicy lime
½ TSP red pepper flakes
2 TBSP light soy sauce
1 TBSP sesame oil
1 TSP of chili oil
Black and white toasted sesame seeds
Shaved nori (seaweed)
1 cup of slivered cucumber
1 cup of scallions – white and green parts thinly sliced
Chopped cilantro (optional)
Steamed white rice
Cube the tuna into bite size pieces. In a bowl, whisk together the miso paste, honey, lime juice, red pepper flakes, soy, sesame oil, pinch of salt and fresh cracked white pepper. Add the tuna, the slivered cucumbers, scallions and sesame seeds. Allow to sit at room temp for about 15 minutes. Place some rice in a bowl and pile the poke on top. Finishing with more sesame seeds and nori.
“Raw” in Spanish and Italian, by definition. A latest trendy craze in high-end, swanky joints, elevating this au naturel offering as a starter. Even though these are very thin slices of fish or scallops, it shouldn’t be confused with sashimi, because what’s spectacular about crudo is the simplicity of freshest fish AND very best quality of EVOO, preferably cold-pressed. However, crudo has gravitated from its minimalistic presentation, where is now being showcased with Asian to Mediterranean flavor profiles.
½ LB of yellow tail – skin removed
1 TBSP orange juice
2 TBSP of Ponzu
1 TSP garlic/ginger paste
1 TBSP white balsamic vinegar
¼ TSP turmeric
2 TBSP white soy sauce
Juice of 2 Kalamansi Limes (small and compact Asian lime available at specialty stores – distinct lime/tangerine flavor)
Jalapeño – sliced very thinly (optional)
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP of katsuobushi – (dried bonito flakes)
Slices of radish or cucumber
Pat the yellow tail dry, wrap it in plastic film and place it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Ensure your knife is very sharp.
Remove the plastic from around the fish and place it on a cutting board. Lay your hand flat over the fish filet or scallop, with the knife at a 45-degree angle cut diagonally to make ¼” slices. You don’t want it wafer thin, transparent, but much thinner than for sashimi.
Whisk the rest of the ingredients together and place the slices of fish in serving plates, drizzling the “dressing” over top. Finish with some micro greens if desired and cucumber slices.
Kalamansi lime is a very aromatic and tiny, juicy lime deriving from South East Asian countries, ubiquitous mainly to the Philippines. It’s available at specialty stores and their aroma and flavor profile is hard to replicate, as it’s a mixture between a lime and kumquat.
White Japanese soy sauce is (shoyu) is lighter in color and flavor and typically is a perfect use for dipping sauces, crudo and fish carpaccio.
A dish originating from Peru, ceviche has spread to the whole of Northern and Southern America as a fad. It’s seafood or fish marinated in citrus juices to cook the fish from its raw state, mixed with some vegetables and traditional chili. Served alongside crostini, chips or something crunchy.
1 LB of bay scallops – washed and dried as much as possible with a towel
6-7 radishes – cut into slivers
2 scallions – green and white parts – finely sliced
½ red onion – halved and sliced very thinly
7 limes – juice squeezed and zest of one
Juice of 1 lemon
½ jalapeño – seeds removed with a spoon and chopped very small
¼ TSP smoked Spanish sweet paprika
¼ TSP chipotle powder
Pinch of sugar
2 TBSP of fresh squeezed orange juice
In a medium bowl, add the citrus, zest, salt and mix well. After pressing out as much moisture out of the scallops as possible, add them to the bowl with the onion and allow them to sit for about 20 minutes, they will cook quickly.
Once they have cooked, remove them from the citrus juice. To the juice add the smoked sweet paprika, chipotle powder, pinch of sugar, salt and pepper and whisk together. Add the jalapeño and sliced radishes. Return the onion and scallops back to the dressing and toss well to coat evenly. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes. Serve in individual bowls with some slivered nori, chopped cilantro and some radish slices for decoration.