Raw Fish 101: Does Your Sashimi Get a Passing Grade?

Sushi has rapidly become one of the most universally accessible and globalized cuisines on the planet. Even if you aren’t a fan of fish I’m sure you’ve “gone for sushi” before or maybe even hosted a “sushi night” where guests bring various ingredients to contribute to a collective maki-making shindig. While there is a growing menu of vegetarian options when it comes to sushi, if you are a fish lover, what kind of fish should you be looking for? The term sushi grade or sashimi grade is often used to describe fish that is destined to be consumed raw, but what does sushi or sashimi grade actually mean?

Believe it or not sushi grade is not an “official” certification in Canada. However, for fish to be called sushi grade or sashimi grade by chefs it must be frozen. Guidelines vary for different species, but you are safest when fish is frozen at -35 for 15 hours. Home freezers usually can be set to as low as -18 which means that if you want to ensure that your fish is sushi grade it should be frozen for 36 hours or more in order to kill any parasites. In his exhaustive book The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and RiceTrevor Corson points out that the reason why traditional sushi chefs seldom serve freshwater fish is due to the very rare instance of parasites. Parasites, unlike bacteria can be killed by cooking and cold enough temperatures. “Unfrozen salmon is not recommended”

At Afishionado we carry a variety of frozen fish which is considered sushi or sashimi grade. Our yellowfin tuna saku blocks and steaks are currently the most popular fish we sell to sushi lovers from our online shop. Our tuna is also sustainablely caught and Oceanwise recommended which makes eating fish you can feel good about hassle-free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rashid’s Halibut Ceviche

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound fresh skinless halibut fillet, cut into half-inch cubes or halibut cheeks!
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 cup lime juice (from about 6 limes)
  • 2  Serrano or jalapeño peppers, halved, seeded and finely chopped if you want to add some heat. (wear latex gloves if you have them. at the very least don’t rub your eyes like I always do…) (optional)
  • 1 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for sprinkling
  • diced red/orange/yellow bell peppers

Preparation

  1. Place the halibut in a nonreactive bowl. Season with salt. Add 1/2 cup lime juice to bowl, toss again, cover and refrigerate.
  2. Combine the peppers, shallots, cilantro and remaining 1/2 cup lime juice in a nonreactive bowl, cover and refrigerate.
  3. Fifteen minutes before serving, whisk olive oil into shallot mixture. Pourover the halibut mixture , toss and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. sprinkle with cilantro.

Delicious served with tortilla chips or you could make tostadas by cutting fresh corn tortillas into triangles and baking with a pinch of salt.