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Sushi (alt.food.sushi) For talking sushi. (Sashimi, wasabi, miso soup, and other elements of the sushi experience are valid topics.) Sushi is a broad topic; discussions range from preparation to methods of eating to favorite kinds to good restaurants.

How to clean a live fish for use as sushi.



 
 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-07-2005, 01:39 AM
Questions
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Default How to clean a live fish for use as sushi.

I've never cleaned a fish for use as sushi. When I clean fish for
cooking, I'm not as worried about being perfectly clean. The fish will
be cooked at a temperature that will allow for minor infractions.

Can someone who has cleaned a live fish for use as sushi tell me the
method for making the process as safe and clean as possible please?

TIA
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 03-07-2005, 04:50 AM
forrestmouth
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Default

I can't speak to cleaning a live fish specifically for sushi/sashimi,
but I've cleaned plenty of fish in my time (live and dead) and I've
done it the same way. Some of the fish I cleaned was used as sushi and
I was never shown a special way to prepare it (I used to work in a
seafood department). I would think that the most important thing would
be to start with a clean, sanitized work area and make sure that
everything used in the cleaning, storing and serving process were
clean. A sharp knife is also important. Depending on the particular
fish, scissors or a glove may also help (see below). With a live fish
your are going to have lots of blood and will need a lot of water.

When cleaning a live fish, the first step is to stun/kill it by hitting
it in the head several times with a heavy object. Some sporting
goods/fishing supply stores sell specialized clubs but anything
(rolling pin, smal bat etc.) will do. You're aiming for the brain,
which is usually a little bit behind the eyes (but don't bash its head
to an unrecognizeable pulp). When the fish is stunned (you'll know
because it will stop flopping, although if you don't stun it hard
enough it may start flopping again) you can clean it like you would any
other fish. Assuming this is for sushi/sashimi, you'll be making
fillets. Once you've got the fillets be sure to wash away any
blood/bile/scales.

The glove will help you grasp it if it is a particularly slippery
species and if you are cleaning a fish with spines, you may want to cut
them with the scissors.

-FM

  #3 (permalink)  
Old 03-07-2005, 12:43 PM
Questions
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Posts: n/a
Default

On 2 Jul 2005 20:50:36 -0700, "forrestmouth"
wrote:

I can't speak to cleaning a live fish specifically for sushi/sashimi,
but I've cleaned plenty of fish in my time (live and dead) and I've
done it the same way. Some of the fish I cleaned was used as sushi and
I was never shown a special way to prepare it (I used to work in a
seafood department). I would think that the most important thing would
be to start with a clean, sanitized work area and make sure that
everything used in the cleaning, storing and serving process were
clean. A sharp knife is also important. Depending on the particular
fish, scissors or a glove may also help (see below). With a live fish
your are going to have lots of blood and will need a lot of water.

When cleaning a live fish, the first step is to stun/kill it by hitting
it in the head several times with a heavy object. Some sporting
goods/fishing supply stores sell specialized clubs but anything
(rolling pin, smal bat etc.) will do. You're aiming for the brain,
which is usually a little bit behind the eyes (but don't bash its head
to an unrecognizeable pulp). When the fish is stunned (you'll know
because it will stop flopping, although if you don't stun it hard
enough it may start flopping again) you can clean it like you would any
other fish. Assuming this is for sushi/sashimi, you'll be making
fillets. Once you've got the fillets be sure to wash away any
blood/bile/scales.

The glove will help you grasp it if it is a particularly slippery
species and if you are cleaning a fish with spines, you may want to cut
them with the scissors.

-FM

Thanks. I've been fishing and cleaning fish for over 40 years, but
I've never cleaned one with intentions of eating it raw. I've seen
instructions for cleaning fish for raw consumption, but I don't recall
where I saw this. The method was quite different than what I'm used
to. If I recall correctly, the gut was avoided almost completely. I
imagine this is to avoid bacteriological contamination from the waste
tract of the fish. I am hoping that someone will offer the Japanese
method used specifically for cleaning fish used for raw consumption.

Thanks again for your advice.
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 03-07-2005, 01:42 PM
Musashi
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Posts: n/a
Default


"Questions" wrote in message
...
I've never cleaned a fish for use as sushi. When I clean fish for
cooking, I'm not as worried about being perfectly clean. The fish will
be cooked at a temperature that will allow for minor infractions.

Can someone who has cleaned a live fish for use as sushi tell me the
method for making the process as safe and clean as possible please?

TIA


I have been catching, cleaning and preparing fish for raw consumption for
some 30 years.
Cleaning a fish for raw consumption doesn't differ so much from cleaning a
fish for cooking.
The differences really come before and after you clean the fish.

1) When keeping your catch with the intent of eating raw, make sure you have
an ice filled
cooler. Common practices like landed fish left on deck, in a bucket, in a
burlap bag are not good.
Bringing the fish home in good condition (mostly keeping it cool) is key to
enjoying good raw fish.
2) The fish should be cleaned (head dropped, reduced to 2 filets) on a board
designated for that
purpose. Do not use the same board for slicing your "sashimi".
If dealing with a live fish, using a thick bladed knife (in Japan the Deba
Boucho is used) stab and cut
through the upper gill opening to sever the spine.You will used lots of COLD
running water.
Most fish should have their skin removed. An exception would be Japanese Tai
but I won't get into that right now.
Hikarimo Mackeral and Aji must have their "outer skin removed" but this does
not apply to regular scaled fish.
3) When slicing your filet for use as sashimi or as sushi neta, rinse your
hands and wet your board first with cold water
then wipe with a paper towel. When handling the filet, minimize excessive
handling and if for some reason
you find yourself working with a filet for over 2-3 minutes or so, rinse
your hands in cold water and wipe.
Use a Wood board, rather than a plastic board which tends to trap bacteria
in the grooves left behind from cutting.
Also wood has anti-bacterial properties which is one of the reasons why it's
used so much.

You mentioned cleaning a "live" fish and unless you have a livewell I
imagine that you are thinking of
preparing your fish on-site. If so be careful of working in the shade and
that the temperature is higher than
an air-conditioned kitchen.

If you test your Florida "Whiting" please let us know how it was.
In particular, what fish common to the sushi counter that it resembled if
any.

Musashi






  #5 (permalink)  
Old 03-07-2005, 02:08 PM
Questions
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Sun, 03 Jul 2005 12:42:12 GMT, "Musashi"
wrote:


"Questions" wrote in message
.. .
I've never cleaned a fish for use as sushi. When I clean fish for
cooking, I'm not as worried about being perfectly clean. The fish will
be cooked at a temperature that will allow for minor infractions.

Can someone who has cleaned a live fish for use as sushi tell me the
method for making the process as safe and clean as possible please?

TIA


I have been catching, cleaning and preparing fish for raw consumption for
some 30 years.
Cleaning a fish for raw consumption doesn't differ so much from cleaning a
fish for cooking.
The differences really come before and after you clean the fish.

(snip)

Do you "gut" your fish prior to filleting them?

Also wood has anti-bacterial properties which is one of the reasons why it's
used so much.

I didn't know this. Is a particular type of wood favored for this
property?


You mentioned cleaning a "live" fish and unless you have a livewell I
imagine that you are thinking of preparing your fish on-site.
If so be careful of working in the shade

Do I understand you correctly as meaning I should do this in the
shade?

and that the temperature is
higher than an air-conditioned kitchen.

I don't understand what you mean here.


If you test your Florida "Whiting" please let us know how it was.
In particular, what fish common to the sushi counter that it resembled if
any.

Musashi

I sure will.
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 03-07-2005, 11:44 PM
Musashi
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Questions" wrote in message
...
On Sun, 03 Jul 2005 12:42:12 GMT, "Musashi"
wrote:


"Questions" wrote in message
.. .
I've never cleaned a fish for use as sushi. When I clean fish for
cooking, I'm not as worried about being perfectly clean. The fish will
be cooked at a temperature that will allow for minor infractions.

Can someone who has cleaned a live fish for use as sushi tell me the
method for making the process as safe and clean as possible please?

TIA


I have been catching, cleaning and preparing fish for raw consumption for
some 30 years.
Cleaning a fish for raw consumption doesn't differ so much from cleaning

a
fish for cooking.
The differences really come before and after you clean the fish.

(snip)

Do you "gut" your fish prior to filleting them?


Yes, I remove the gills and the entrails (gut), then remove the head.
Rinse in cold water to get rid of any blood or gut pieces.
Then start to filet.

Also wood has anti-bacterial properties which is one of the reasons why

it's
used so much.

I didn't know this. Is a particular type of wood favored for this
property?


You mentioned cleaning a "live" fish and unless you have a livewell I
imagine that you are thinking of preparing your fish on-site.
If so be careful of working in the shade

Do I understand you correctly as meaning I should do this in the
shade?

I simply mean not in the sun.
(see below)

and that the temperature is
higher than an air-conditioned kitchen.

I don't understand what you mean here.


I was simply talking about taking care not to be cleaning and preparing your
fish
outdoors in the hot sun.

If you test your Florida "Whiting" please let us know how it was.
In particular, what fish common to the sushi counter that it resembled if
any.

Musashi

I sure will.



  #7 (permalink)  
Old 04-07-2005, 12:12 AM
Questions
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Sun, 03 Jul 2005 22:44:09 GMT, "Musashi"
wrote:

I was simply talking about taking care not to be cleaning and preparing your
fish
outdoors in the hot sun.

If you test your Florida "Whiting" please let us know how it was.
In particular, what fish common to the sushi counter that it resembled if
any.

Musashi

I sure will.


Thank you again. I wasn't sure if there was some sort of a procedure
that I should follow above and beyond normal cleaning of the fish. It
always pays to ask a pro!


  #8 (permalink)  
Old 04-07-2005, 11:31 AM
Keith
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Here's how to process a freshly caught tuna. Should work fine for other
species as well. Kill the fish by feeling around for the soft spot
midway between and a little aft of the eyes. Stick an ice pick or other
spike into this area a a 45 degree angle to destroy the brain. If the
dorsal flexes erect, the jaw falls open and the fish is motionless
after his, you've been successful. If not, try again.

Remember that since you caught the fish, that biochemical clock is
ticking, and the quality of the flesh is constantly degrading. If you
want really good quality sushi fish, you need to destroy the intact
spinal cord as well. Cut an L shaped wedge out of the head to expose
the brain, then run a length of 300# test monofilament down the entire
length of the spinal canal. This will stop all the biochemical
reactions coming from the active spinal cord.

Next you have to bleed the fish. This removes a lot of the lactic acid
built up during the fight. If you don't do that, the fish can turn
mushy. You need to do all this ASAP after catching the fish, while the
heart is still beating.

Make 1" cuts about 2-4" behind and in line with the pectoral fins on
both sides. Slice into the whitish membrand between the red gill
filaments and the grill collar 2/3 of the way to the throat on both
sides. Make one cut a few inches away from where the tail starts on the
bottom of the fish. All of these cuts should bleed freely... if not try
again.

Getting all that blood out also cools the fish. Now you need to bleed
and flush the fish with either seawater or fresh water for 10 minutes
or so. Obviously don't hang it overboard in the water if there are
sharks or other predators around! Now you can gut and gill it, and get
it on ice ASAP... don't bang it around or lay i on the deck, please.

Sushi time!

  #9 (permalink)  
Old 04-07-2005, 02:56 PM
Questions
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 4 Jul 2005 03:31:00 -0700, "Keith"
wrote:

Here's how to process a freshly caught tuna. Should work fine for other
species as well. Kill the fish by feeling around for the soft spot
midway between and a little aft of the eyes. Stick an ice pick or other
spike into this area a a 45 degree angle to destroy the brain. If the
dorsal flexes erect, the jaw falls open and the fish is motionless
after his, you've been successful. If not, try again.

Remember that since you caught the fish, that biochemical clock is
ticking, and the quality of the flesh is constantly degrading. If you
want really good quality sushi fish, you need to destroy the intact
spinal cord as well. Cut an L shaped wedge out of the head to expose
the brain, then run a length of 300# test monofilament down the entire
length of the spinal canal. This will stop all the biochemical
reactions coming from the active spinal cord.

Next you have to bleed the fish. This removes a lot of the lactic acid
built up during the fight. If you don't do that, the fish can turn
mushy. You need to do all this ASAP after catching the fish, while the
heart is still beating.

Make 1" cuts about 2-4" behind and in line with the pectoral fins on
both sides. Slice into the whitish membrand between the red gill
filaments and the grill collar 2/3 of the way to the throat on both
sides. Make one cut a few inches away from where the tail starts on the
bottom of the fish. All of these cuts should bleed freely... if not try
again.

Getting all that blood out also cools the fish. Now you need to bleed
and flush the fish with either seawater or fresh water for 10 minutes
or so. Obviously don't hang it overboard in the water if there are
sharks or other predators around! Now you can gut and gill it, and get
it on ice ASAP... don't bang it around or lay i on the deck, please.

Sushi time!

I don't know if I'll ever need to do this, but if I do, the
instructions are AWESOME!
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 04-07-2005, 05:13 PM
Musashi
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Questions" wrote in message
...
On Sun, 03 Jul 2005 22:44:09 GMT, "Musashi"
wrote:

I was simply talking about taking care not to be cleaning and preparing

your
fish
outdoors in the hot sun.

If you test your Florida "Whiting" please let us know how it was.
In particular, what fish common to the sushi counter that it resembled

if
any.

Musashi
I sure will.


Thank you again. I wasn't sure if there was some sort of a procedure
that I should follow above and beyond normal cleaning of the fish. It
always pays to ask a pro!


I'm no pro. Just cleaned alot of fish.


  #11 (permalink)  
Old 04-07-2005, 05:14 PM
Musashi
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Questions" wrote in message
...
On 4 Jul 2005 03:31:00 -0700, "Keith"
wrote:

Here's how to process a freshly caught tuna. Should work fine for other
species as well. Kill the fish by feeling around for the soft spot
midway between and a little aft of the eyes. Stick an ice pick or other
spike into this area a a 45 degree angle to destroy the brain. If the
dorsal flexes erect, the jaw falls open and the fish is motionless
after his, you've been successful. If not, try again.

Remember that since you caught the fish, that biochemical clock is
ticking, and the quality of the flesh is constantly degrading. If you
want really good quality sushi fish, you need to destroy the intact
spinal cord as well. Cut an L shaped wedge out of the head to expose
the brain, then run a length of 300# test monofilament down the entire
length of the spinal canal. This will stop all the biochemical
reactions coming from the active spinal cord.

Next you have to bleed the fish. This removes a lot of the lactic acid
built up during the fight. If you don't do that, the fish can turn
mushy. You need to do all this ASAP after catching the fish, while the
heart is still beating.

Make 1" cuts about 2-4" behind and in line with the pectoral fins on
both sides. Slice into the whitish membrand between the red gill
filaments and the grill collar 2/3 of the way to the throat on both
sides. Make one cut a few inches away from where the tail starts on the
bottom of the fish. All of these cuts should bleed freely... if not try
again.

Getting all that blood out also cools the fish. Now you need to bleed
and flush the fish with either seawater or fresh water for 10 minutes
or so. Obviously don't hang it overboard in the water if there are
sharks or other predators around! Now you can gut and gill it, and get
it on ice ASAP... don't bang it around or lay i on the deck, please.

Sushi time!

I don't know if I'll ever need to do this, but if I do, the
instructions are AWESOME!


If you are going for Bluefin or Bigeye, I'll join you.


  #12 (permalink)  
Old 04-07-2005, 06:29 PM
Tippi
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Posts: n/a
Default

Questions wrote:
I don't know if I'll ever need to do this, but if I do, the
instructions are AWESOME!


I trust you know that some fish esp. freshwater ones can not be eaten
raw, due to parasites that you can't "clean".

  #13 (permalink)  
Old 04-07-2005, 08:31 PM
Questions
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 4 Jul 2005 10:29:27 -0700, "Tippi" wrote:

Questions wrote:
I don't know if I'll ever need to do this, but if I do, the
instructions are AWESOME!


I trust you know that some fish esp. freshwater ones can not be eaten
raw, due to parasites that you can't "clean".

Yes, I am aware of this. Those parasites can be killed by freezing.
Just as they do for all salmon that is served as sushi.

If you would like the freezing temps and times, just let me know.
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 04-07-2005, 08:41 PM
Questions
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Mon, 04 Jul 2005 16:14:40 GMT, "Musashi"
wrote:


"Questions" wrote in message
.. .
On 4 Jul 2005 03:31:00 -0700, "Keith"
wrote:

Here's how to process a freshly caught tuna. Should work fine for other
species as well. Kill the fish by feeling around for the soft spot
midway between and a little aft of the eyes. Stick an ice pick or other
spike into this area a a 45 degree angle to destroy the brain. If the
dorsal flexes erect, the jaw falls open and the fish is motionless
after his, you've been successful. If not, try again.

Remember that since you caught the fish, that biochemical clock is
ticking, and the quality of the flesh is constantly degrading. If you
want really good quality sushi fish, you need to destroy the intact
spinal cord as well. Cut an L shaped wedge out of the head to expose
the brain, then run a length of 300# test monofilament down the entire
length of the spinal canal. This will stop all the biochemical
reactions coming from the active spinal cord.

Next you have to bleed the fish. This removes a lot of the lactic acid
built up during the fight. If you don't do that, the fish can turn
mushy. You need to do all this ASAP after catching the fish, while the
heart is still beating.

Make 1" cuts about 2-4" behind and in line with the pectoral fins on
both sides. Slice into the whitish membrand between the red gill
filaments and the grill collar 2/3 of the way to the throat on both
sides. Make one cut a few inches away from where the tail starts on the
bottom of the fish. All of these cuts should bleed freely... if not try
again.

Getting all that blood out also cools the fish. Now you need to bleed
and flush the fish with either seawater or fresh water for 10 minutes
or so. Obviously don't hang it overboard in the water if there are
sharks or other predators around! Now you can gut and gill it, and get
it on ice ASAP... don't bang it around or lay i on the deck, please.

Sushi time!

I don't know if I'll ever need to do this, but if I do, the
instructions are AWESOME!


If you are going for Bluefin or Bigeye, I'll join you.

You'll come to St. Augustine Florida to fish with me?
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-2005, 04:56 PM
parrotheada1a
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I've actually been on a party boat and made sashimi, on the spot. Cod &
haddock aren't really good for it, but red ocean perch or fluke are
another matter. Stun, scale, fillet, force cool in icewater...slice &
serve. I don't know if I can get any fresher than 15 minutes from
flipping to plate.

 




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