The wonderous world of raw fish – sashimi

We’ve been noticing a rise in the demand for fish for sashimi. It doesn’t just stop at salmon or tuna, there has been a rush on sea bass (Suzuki), turbot fin (engawa) and yellowtail kingfish belly (Hamachi) to name a few.

So…what is sashimi grade fish? Many people believe that sashimi grade fish is fish that has been authorised to be sold as ‘sashimi grade’. This is not true. ‘Sashimi grade’ is a term used to describe fish that is ‘best in class’. In a way, the concept of sashimi grade isn’t wrong in peoples minds, just the idea that there is an independent body regulating the quality is incorrect. Often we take customer calls with people referring to this mythical sashimi grade authority that doesn’t exist, we politely proceed to explain the term ‘sashimi grade’.

To justify selling fish under the term ‘sashimi grade’, the fish must be fresh and in good physical condition. It is very important that the fish is treated well from capture through to preparation. Bruising of the flesh can be detrimental to the texture and the overall raw eating experience. When we had a sashimi trainer visiting us at Fish Palace a few weeks ago he told us how fish destined for sashimi should be landed and packed in a very specific way to preserve the flesh integrity. For example, he said in Japan all fish may be laid on their left side all facing a specific way in the box, therefore leaving the right side untouched.

Have you ever seen one of the American fishing shows where they poke a little metal tube into a monster tuna withdrawing some meat? This process is grading the quality of the fish. At this stage, some of the very best fish are separated off for ‘AAA sashimi’ grade fish. ‘AAA sashimi grade’ is just a sashimi marketing term that is floated around in the wholesale seafood industry that I wanted to sneak into this post somewhere?

Here are last month’s top 5 selling sashimi items.

Salmon – sake – organic back
salmon sashimi
Hiramasa –  yellowtail kingfish

yellowtail kingfish sashimiSome strips cut from a larger back strip of yellowtail

 

Maguro – Tuna

Mahuro Sashimi TunaThis is from the back of the tuna loin. The belly strips were introduced last month as well (yet to be photographed).

Uni – sea urchin roe

sea urchin roeA much-loved delicacy from Canada

Suzuki – Sea bass sashimi

sea bass sashimi

We are trying to expand our sashimi range and are open to new ideas from you on what we should offer. If you have any requests please email customer-response-centre@thefishsociety.co.uk

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