Raw

Raw

By
Nathan Outlaw
Contains
6 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849493727
Photographer
David Loftus

This is where we start: no heat required, just the freshest and best quality seafood. Raw fish is a relatively new thing in the West, yet the Japanese have been eating sushi and sashimi for centuries. That’s why I follow their lead in the knowledge of raw seafood, including the best varieties to use. Other cultures – Nordic, Italian, Spanish, South American and Caribbean – also have raw fish as part of their traditional diet but, to me, the Japanese are the masters.

Nearly all of our sea friends are edible, but not all of them are edible raw. So which fish are best for raw dishes? Well, for me, scallops, salmon and mackerel, as these are my favourites. Tuna, obviously, is great too, but we really only see our fisherman land albacore tuna, which is different from the tuna you usually find in sushi restaurants – typically yellowfin that has been fished in other oceans. Mind you, saying that, it is also nice prepared raw, just different.

The way fish and shellfish have been caught and kept from that point are vital considerations if you are eating them raw. Obviously, fishermen that supply the finest, freshest fish are your best source of supply. Their fish will have been killed swiftly, gutted quickly and bled well. It all sounds a little nasty, but it is essential that it is done this way. If the fish isn’t killed swiftly it will become stressed and physiological reactions to stress have an adverse affect on the texture of the fish, causing it to become tough. If the fish isn’t gutted quickly, any parasites will immediately try to attack and travel into the flesh from the guts. And if the fish isn’t bled briskly, the blood will settle in the flesh, giving a very bitter taste and an unpleasant appearance.

It may well surprise you to learn that I usually prefer to freeze very fresh fish for raw preparations, except oysters. In most cases, freezing helps to tenderise the seafood, but its main purpose is to deal with parasites. I don’t want to put you off, but parasites are everywhere – they’re part of life – though freezing kills most of them. Many of the best sushi chefs in the world freeze their seafood and I’d recommend you do too, to be on the safe side.

I have eaten raw fish in restaurants in various countries and, of course, I serve it in my own. Of the dishes I have tasted, a few stand out for me: a razor clam dish at Noma in Copenhagen; an Italian raw prawn dish at The Seahorse in Dartmouth, Devon; and an oyster dish with pear at Mirazur in Menton, south of France. They all had one thing in common: simplicity. In raw seafood dishes, more than any other preparation, simplicity is so important. Don’t let raw fish scare you. It is fantastic, healthy and unique in flavour. Just be smart about where you get the fish, how you store it and what you put it with. Hopefully I can help you with that.

Best fish for raw preparation

Scallops, salmon, mackerel, horse mackerel, tuna, sea trout, brill, bream, bass, prawns, oysters, mussels, clams.

Accompaniments and garnishes

Citrus fruits, fresh herbs, vinegars, oils, pickled vegetables, vegetable marmalades.

Recipes in this Chapter

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