I had the good fortune to fish the Indian Ocean off of Mozambique with my son Steve a few years ago. We lucked into a school of yellowfin tuna and the action was fast and furious.. But more than the fishing was the culinary experience afterwards- sushi five ways. I was reminded of this the other day when The Fisherman Magazine's editor, Jim Hutchinson, Jr. posted pictures of the bonito he caugt in the surf which he combined with spicy mayo, soy sauce and wasabi for a real tasty treat.
Jim's fishing and culinary success got me to thinking that it was time for another culinary
blog. Whether you choose sashimi or cerviche, fresh fish can be enjoyed right on the beach or boat. The key is knowing what to do once you have the fish off the hook. If you've developed a love for sushi, you know that it can be an expensive craving . Fortunately, sushi is easy to prepare, you just need to take a few precautions to make sure you prepare the fish safely.
When it comes to fish of the mid-Atlantic or Northeast coast, the firmer the flesh the better, and the primary fish of the fall run- Bonito , Albacore and Striped Bass- each can be prepared for sushi. As for the two "lesser" tuna, it must be recognized that they have very strong muscles. The tougher and longer the fight to get the fish to the beach or in the boat, the worse the fish will be for sushi because of the release of lactic acid into the flesh. A long fight will result in muscle fatigue and maximum acid release which will ruin
the flesh. These fish, even without a long fight, have a very strong smell of blood. Therefore the key to freshness and taste is to immediately drain the blood, quickly butcher and chill on a good bed of ice.
Fish caught in the open ocean have a relatively low chance of parasites living underneath their skin, making them better candidates for sushi than river or lake caught fish. Sushi is typically taken from the loin- the thickest, tendon free section of the fillet. Take a sharp sushi knife and carefully cut a triangular piece that measures about 1-inch by 3-inches. This piece should come from the most tender and tendon-free part of the fillet. You can use this piece for making sashimi or nigiri. For your reference, tendons look like a line running diagonally from the top of your tuna down towards the skin. To remove it, slice the piece of fish in half
lengthwise, cutting down near the skin. You should also remove the skin by holding your knife parallel to the skin and sliding the knife between the skin/tendon and the meat of the fish.
In the Samurai culture, fish were caught using a handline. As soon as the fish was landed, its brain was pierced with a sharp spike, and the fish placed in slurry of ice. This spiking meant instantaneous death reducing the acid release. Whether samurai or surf fisherman, fresh fish just furthers the anglers ability to #LiveThePassion!