Let’s be clear from the start: there is nothing wrong with being a sushi lover. Sushi looks gorgeous and tastes delicious. For many people, the colorful rolls are a great introduction to consuming fish, raw or lightly cooked.
But if you’ve been eating at your favorite sushi restaurant often or order on a regular basis, you should consider cranking it up a notch and discover the delicious experience that sashimi offers.
How to Work Up to Sashimi One Step at a Time
Now, you’re familiar with sushi rolls. You get a great mix of flavors and textures. The crunch of cucumber, the softness of fish or crab, the saltiness of nori and fish roe. That’s makizushi for you, which comes in different combinations of ingredients and shapes. After a few, you feel satiated, mostly due to the filling quality of “sushi rice”, which unlike long grain has a higher starch content.
If you’re tempted to try more raw fish separate from a sushi roll, but not ready to give up the rice just yet, try nigiri.
Nigiri is rice topped with fish or shellfish, raw or cooked. No extra ingredient, other than the assortment of sauces that will elevate the flavors. The most popular versions include shrimp, unagi (freshwater eel), salmon, ahi tuna, …
With nigiri, you are getting closer to enjoying the true essence of the components, with enough rice to keep you on familiar ground.
All the Way up to Sashimi
Sashimi is the epitome of Japanese traditional delicacies, very fresh raw fish expertly sliced out of the best part fish has to offer: flesh with no connective tissue and no blemish. Thickness and size vary depending on the type of fish, a generous 3/8in thick domino for buttery tuna, yellowtail, or salmon; a much thinner slice for firmer flesh like squid or flounder.
Beyond enjoying the pure flavor and texture of the fish without the distraction of accoutrements, sashimi packs your plate with lean protein, healthy omega-3, and a fair share of vitamins and minerals, notably vitamin D and calcium.
Sashimi and Health Risk
The FDA will warn you that consuming raw fish may pose a risk of foodborne illness. Fish could host parasites, which is why most raw fish consumed in the United States has been previously frozen. They issue the same caution statement when meat and eggs are concerned.
The key to safety is to choose restaurants or suppliers with impeccable sources. And as a rule of thumb, if it smells fishy, it’s not fresh. In that case, better abstain from eating it.
In the end, sashimi is still healthier than fat-loaded, fried tilapia or catfish, notorious bottom feeders!