Fine cooking, Made in Vienna

Sake Sashimi

Sake Sashimi

Fish in general, but particularly Salmon in it’s raw form is by far the best thing I can think of for breakfast, lunch, dinner – and if the circumstances allow it, in between meals. Therefore Sake Sashimi in its simplicity is the a logical consequence of finding it’s own spot on our blog.

Less than a year ago my trusted Turkish grocer* started not only offering meat of all kinds, but also fish. The variety of choice is always a matter of availability and Salmon is expensive and rare these days, that’s why we’ve been waiting since April for a new delivery. This week the grocer came through with his promise and I had a whole salmon to work on for this post. Hopefully the supply will keep going for a while.

One of the first recipes for Sashimi I’ve ever saw was literally maintained to the following words “Get fish, cut it into small pieces, serve it.”. Of course, there is more to that. If you’ve ever had Sashimi, be it at a cheap All You Can Eat buffet or at a fancy Japanese restaurant, you might have noticed the significant way the pieces of fish are served. Simply cutting them one by one of one end of a filet doesn’t do it. There is an important distinction about how you cut away the fish on the bellyside of the filet or from the back side. You start of with the belly and cut off thin pieces in vertical direction until you reach the middle part of the filet, where once was the backbone of the fish. Beyond that line, you cut this wider part into two pieces and cut those in horizontal direction.

Sounds complicated? Yes. Is it difficult? No. The truly tricky part is filleting the son of a bitch. A salmon easily weighs between 3.5 to 6 kg and is around 60-90 cm long. A large wooden cutting board and some space in your fridge to keep this monster fresh is imperative for the success of this brief journey into the daily life of a sushi chef. Keep some fresh pure lemons or lemon juice around to wash your hands with afterwards. People will love you for serving them Sashimi, but hate you for the smell on you after preparing it. The smell can even be significantly noticeable with a fresh fish, but don’t lose your enthusiasm, there is nothing lemon and soap can’t get rid off.

The Sashimi “recipe” below will show you how to fillet a whole Salmon fish including removing the skin and all fishbones- with no guarantee of leaving any behind, but you will notice soon enough. In case you are one of the many lucky people who have the ready fillet at hand, you will be happy to skip most of the steps in between and get to making Sashimi right away. Still, I hope you will take a look at the whole process – the real fun and usually unseen part when it comes to preparing fish.

Most people tend to only know the final product and have lost sight of what really happens before a piece of meat and fish finds it’s way to one’s dinner plate. I like the thought of showing the transformation process from a fresh fish to the final piece of tasty Sashimi. But of course, there is always a compromise, I left out the gutting & cleaning part due to imminent danger of losing readers.

Let’s not forget one important part. This will be a fine Sake Sashimi meal, the Sashimi is not a solo show. This is rather uncoventional, but the best thing to serve with it is not only Soy sauce to dip it in and some Wasabi paste, it’s warm Japanese-style flavored and tender Sushi rice. You will not be disappointed. Below I also attached my personal Sushi rice recipe. I hope you will like it and will see – I really like fish.

Feel free to comment & send us your thoughts on the post.

Happy Cooking- or cutting!

 

* If you are reading this and from Vienna or Austria, I strongly recommend to you stop by. Good quality meat, sometimes fish as well as quality vegetables/fruits and a wide variety of oriental products -> http://www.themarket.at , Location on Google Maps

Sake Sashimi

This recipe serves two people. It's best served with a bowl of sushi rice. Always use fresh salmon for this recipe and serve soon after preparing. This dish does not keep well in the fridge.

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 300 g Salmon filet
  • 2 g Wasabi powder

Instructions

  1. If you have the filet ready, cut and skinned, skip all steps 1 to 11 and go to step 12.
  2. Prepare a long and sharp knife. Sharpen it with a sharpening stone and wash it thoroughly with hot water. If you are working with a whole Salmon fish, start by cutting of the head and the tail.
  3. Remove any intestines/blood/skin/blubber and clean the skin.
  4. Place he knife on the stump where the head was before above the main bone and make a slow and clean cut through the whole fish.
  5. Slowly cut through the fish until you reach the end. Apply more pressure when cutting through any bones.
  6. Now you have one of the two whole filet halves of the salmon fish. You have to perform the previous two steps to the other halve in order to remove the whole fishbone.
  7. Cut of the back edge with the thick skin and the blubber on the top of the filet.
  8. Cut off the stomach blubber including the skin on the bellyside.
  9. Now remove the bones and the white blubber skin on the belly side. Slightly push all bones upwards so you see the pikes.
  10. Put the knife between the the pikes and the filet. Start making a clean cut through, taking away the bones including the blubber skin. Try to take as little as possible away from the filet without leaving any bones.
  11. Now you will remove the bones on the top and thick side of the filet. Gently apply pressure on the filet upwards with your hand until you start seeing the bone pikes. Take a pincer of a special fishbone pincer and start taking out the bones one by one. Keep doing that until there can't find any more bones.
  12. Now you have a whole filet of the salmon ready. For each person you should cut a piece of about 150 g approximately three cm or a little more than one inch in width.
  13. In case you want to barbecue or fry the filet, leave the skin on, otherwise the filet might fall apart. For Sashimi you have to remove the skin.
  14. Turn the filet upside down with the skinless side on the cutting board. Place the knife between the skin and the filet right on the white layer of blubber. Start cutting a slowly along that layer.
  15. Don't move the knife too fast so you can adjust when the cutting angle deviates and starts cutting not only skin away but also parts of the filet. Try to keep the blade cutting right under the layer and also take away the dark purple layer of meat right between blubber and skin. It's not suitable for Sashimi and makes it less tender and soft.
  16. Take the Salmon filet and start cutting away slices off the thinner bellyside of the filet in direction of the broadside until you reach the muscle line in the middle of the filet. Don't cut them to thin.
  17. Now only the thick side of the filet is left. Cut it into two equal pieces through the broadside.
  18. Take each of the two remaining pieces and cut them along their front side into thick pieces.
  19. Take 2 grams of Wasabi powder, put it into a small mini bowl, add a dash of water and mix it until it's a creamy paste.
  20. Put all pieces of Sashimi on a small plate and serve with steamed Sushi rice and a small chunk Wasabi. See also our upcoming Sushi rice recipe.

 

Sushi rice

This recipe describes how to cook sushi rice for serving it as a side dish. The rice can be saved warm and goes well with fish, veggies and meat.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 1 cups Sushi rice
  • 3 cups Fresh drinking water
  • 5-10 grams Nori Furikake

Instructions

  1. Put two cups of Sushi rice into a bowl and wash it by adding fresh water and rinsing it. Repeat a few times.
  2. Put the rice into a small cooking pot, depending on the number of portions.
  3. Add 3 cups of fresh drinking water with the same cup you used to measure the rice.
  4. Put the cooking pot on the preheated stove with maximum heat.
  5. As soon as the water starts to cook, drecrease the heat to medium or slightly less than medium. Cover the pot.
  6. After 10-15 minutes, start checking the rice. Make sure it doesn't stick and burn. In case it starts sticking, slightly stir the rice and add water if the rice is still not tender.
  7. As soon as the rice is soft and tender, turn off the heat. Add some salt and serve in a small bowl.
  8. Optional: Garnish it with Nori Furikake.

 



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