First of all, we didn’t ever really eat fish in my family. If we did, it was covered in cheese and breadcrumbs and called Tuna Casserole… It bore no relation to actual fish, and aside from Friday night Fish & Chips, was as close as we got to be pescetarians. Not one of the better creations we got to eat, but it was normally paired along side macaroni cheese on a lazy night when Mum didn’t really feel like cooking… so i’ll let her off the hook this time.
So… that fact established… Fish is a kind of new thing for me, raw fish especially so. Sharon however, is at the opposite end of the spectrum. She spent a couple of years in Japan and came back raving about how great the sushi and sashimi was there, and now frequently bemoans the paltry variety of seafood available in Australia.
I of course, being the patriot that I am, stand up for our fine fish stocks and ocean life, saying that we have plenty of things of the sea that we could be eating if we so desired… but the reality of the matter is that she’s right (just don’t tell her that… we’ll see how long she takes to read this and find out). The sushi in Australia, or Perth more specifically, can in no way be compared to that of Japan. Half of the things they eat on a regular basis I have never heard of, and would not be able to identify if they sitting right in front of me.
Recently I’ve begun to develop a taste for good fish though… taking the philosophy that if any kind of produce is of a high enough quality, it should be able to be eaten on it’s own with only the most basic of cooking or flavouring. It works for wagyu carpaccio, so why not fish ? I’m also not the kind of person to not try something on account of it being strange or different, so I suppose turning into a raw fish eater was inevitable.
So a little research into top quality sushi reveals there is a lot to know about Tuna. Firstly, it should not come in a can (in case you were wondering), secondly there are many grades of Tuna. Only the top grades of tuna are good enough to be called “sashimi grade”, and those towards the bottom are often called “cat food”.
So imagine our delight when we found out that a Japanese fish supplier would be opening up shop just down the road from us, serving up a large range of… sashimi grade tuna !
Fish Japan is the latest addition to the budding gourmet hot spot that is Dog Swamp Shopping Centre in Yokine. It has a small range of sushi and sashimi, but some excellent quality fish, from which I was able to procure two lovely big chunks of high grade sashimi tuna for the dish I have taken so long to tell you about… Tuna Tataki.
So… take one piece of excellent sashimi grade tuna, dip it in soy sauce, smother it all over with wasabi paste, and then cover it entirely with sesame seeds. Feel free to add a little sesame oil to the soy sauce for a bit more sesame goodness.
Once covered in sesame seeds, heat a pan with a little oil (sesame, olive) until it’s really hot (almost smoking), and then very quickly sear the tuna all over. My piece was cut into a thick rectangular block, so I simply left it on each side for 10 – 20 seconds before turning it over until it was done. Then out of the pan, and with a sharp/thin knife, try and elegantly slice your tuna into tasty little pieces.
I served mine very simply with sushi rice that Sharon prepared old school style (in a wooden bowl with a fan)… but you could quite easy knock together a simple dipping sauce of soy and wasabi and whatever else you have on hand if you so desire. It’s not the most “authentic” way to appreciate sashimi of course, but for a pleb like me, it was a great way of preparing the fish where I could get the full flavour and texture in it’s most raw form, whilst retaining a little Western respectability on the outside.
So put those cans back on the shelves, head out of the cat food isle, into the fish shop, and introduce yourself to good quality sashimi today ! (or tomorrow… I’m not pushy).