What is Freshest Raw Fish?
Many sushi and sashimi diners who love raw fish, not necessarily connoisseurs, think that if the dish they’re eating smells as fresh as the ocean it came from, they’re dining on fish just off the boat.
Actually, not so. Raw fish, especially in the finest Japanese restaurants are aged; yes, freshly caught but have been aged. The well-informed know pretty well that the finest slabs of raw fish have been whiling away their time in the chef’s kitchen for several days already. Tuna and many other varieties of fish don’t have any real taste if they are served too soon after they are caught. Because the texture is usually tough, there’s no savory taste present. Just like steaks; the best tasting stakes are dry-aged beef. And steak lovers know that.
Both taste and consistency of raw fish are enhanced by dry-ageing. The process reduces moisture and breaks down the enzymes within the animal protein. Certain flavor compounds are released making the taste more complex and savory. When proteins break down, the flesh of the fish softens and the rawness becomes easily digestible.
Some parts of Japan, especially in the south, and also Korea prefer their raw fish eaten just off the boat. That is freshness for them, but dining on non-dry aged fish may usually require spicy and tangy or strong condiments, like gochujang and tart ponzu. However, you don’t find this raw ‘freshness’ in newer fine dining Japanese restaurants and in Edomae sushi.
Edomae sushi or traditional Tokyo-style sushi uses kombujime, the classic ageing technique where the fish are lightly salted, rinsed in water or sake, patted dry and pressed between sheets of kelp, and weighed down from between two hours to two days; big fish like tuna – up to 15 days or more.
Exemplary and experienced chefs have creative ways to age their raw fish, knowing just how long it takes to age particular types of fish to reach their peak flavors, temperature variants necessary up to a point that the fish doesn’t start to smell sour, and manner of freezing to concentrate the flavors. They also have ways of preparing the fish for ageing, butchering the fish without causing damage. They say that damaged flesh of fish doesn’t age well. However, as soon as the peak flavors are achieved, unlike that of dry-aged beef or even poultry which last from days to weeks, dry-aged raw fish must be served within hours.
Loving Fresh Sushi and Sashimi in Bellevue
Looking for fresh in Bellevue? Come dine at Sushi In Joy and know fresh. We serve you delicious sushi and sashimi and other popular classics as fresh as can be in a cozy and friendly space.