by Buck Reed
Nearly every culture that eats seafood lays claim to a fish dish that is not put to a traditional cooking method that involves the use of heat. Many of these dishes are embedded into the culture and were perfected centuries ago, so certainly, with so much practice, there are rules and customs involved in their preparation. Unless you want to put some study and practice into a dish, it might be better to leave these dishes to the experts.
Here is a list of dishes that are served raw or cured for your consideration:
Sushi — Sushi — Sushi is one of the more popular and well-known dishes that can contain raw fish. It’s often served on or wrapped in a special rice from Japan and seaweed.
Sashimi — Also from Japan, this dish can be considered deconstructed sushi.
Ceviche — This is a raw fresh fish dish from Peru that is marinated in citrus juice, usually lime, and served with onions, aji peppers, and coriander or cilantro. The lime juice actually cures the fish, rendering it safe to eat.
Crudo — This Italian dish is raw fish dressed with olive oil, salt, and whole pieces of citrus fruit. This is a refreshing dish, usually served as a starter or appetizer and is well known for being light and palate-cleansing.
Gravlax — This Nordic dish is made by curing salmon with salt, sugar, and dill. It is then sliced very thin and served with a mustard and dill sauce with bread as an appetizer.
Poke — This Hawaiian salad is made with raw fish, traditionally made with Skipjack tuna or octopus. Although it went through many changes over time, it is now served as an appetizer or meal, dressed with green onions, soy sauce, seaweed, and sesame oil. It can also be found on the menu with a variety of elaborate sauces and dressings.
Koi Pla — This salad from Thailand has finely chopped or minced fish, finished in a spicy sauce. This dish is very popular in Thai culture but is considered very dangerous for its transmission of pathogens.
Obviously, there are some precautions that must be observed when considering ordering and consuming raw fish. People with compromised immune systems should take this into consideration when eating raw or undercooked foods, in general. Pregnancy is another issue in this undertaking. Also consider the establishment that is preparing the dish for you. Assuming they know what they are doing, could be a mistake (think gas station sushi or a McCrudo Happy Meal)!
But do not let this deter you from taking a leap of faith and trying something you thought was exotic and new. These dishes have been around for long enough that anyone who claims to know what they are doing probably does.
Did you like this article? Do you have a favorite raw fish dish or an idea for an article? If so, tell me about it at RGuyInTheKitchen@aol.com.