See also sushi.
Generally the first course served in a Japanese meal, sashimi is a delicacy consisting of sliced raw fish and seafood. While nigiri sushi is served over beds of rice, sashimi pieces are simply accompanied by condiments such as shredded daikon radish, wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce.
Quite delicate in flavor, sashimi offers the palate a more sensuous textural adventure. Some fish, like salmon, feel firm and melting on the tongue, while others, like squid, have a creamier, more gelatinous character. Most sashimi is served raw, but some chewier seafood is cooked. It is not unusual for sashimi to also include vegetarian ingredients such as yuba (bean curd skin).
Many different kinds of fish and seafood are used for sashimi. Some of the most popular are:
ebi (cooked shrimp)
toro (fatty tuna)
When preparing raw seafood dishes at home, buy from a reputable fishmonger or visit a Japanese or Asian supermarket for fresher (and often less expensive) ingredients. Be sure to buy sashimi grade fish. Tuna is often labeled as such, but when in doubt, ask.
Raw fish should have a fresh odor, firm texture and moist appearance. To keep things simple, buy cuts of fish that have been skinned and cleaned.
Place fish in the refrigerator as soon as you return home and use it for sashimi the same day you buy it.
Because it's served raw, only the freshest and highest quality fish should be used for sashimi. Some Japanese restaurants even keep their fish alive in water up until the moment of preparation. Sashimi chefs are specially trained in slicing fish in special ways depending on the variety. These techniques bring out the best texture and presentation for eating enjoyment.
At home, start by rinsing your skinned, cleaned fish with cold water. Pat dry with clean paper towels. Slice off and discard any especially dark portions.
Next use a very sharp knife to slice the fish along the grain. Cut the fish into bite-sized slices about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and 1 to 2 inches long.
Arrange your fish slices on a plate—lay them in a flat pattern or try rolling them into rosettes. Then garnish with wasabi and pickled ginger and enjoy a true Japanese delicacy at home.
Try one of our favorite sashimi recipes:
Sashimi Delight - Aku/Ahi
Yu Sang (Chinese New Year Salad)
Blackened Sashimi with "Cool" Potato Salad
View BigOven's sashimi recipes