(Recipe) Chirashi Don

What does one do to satisfy a craving for fresh sashimi without blowing a budget? Make it!

Sourcing fresh fish

Techically, I did not ‘make’ sashimi, in all sense of the word. I merely bought the fish from one of the most talked about fish sellers in Boston – New Deal Fish Market. Google for fresh fish in boston/cambridge and you will hear yelp, facebook, twitter and tinyurbankitchen all raving about it, which adds that much more credibility to this humble fish market located just 15 min away from home.

To eat any dish involving raw seafood, it is extremely important to get seafood that is properly sourced and/or processed to ensure that there are no lingering parasites. Despite the many super markets close to home eg. whole foods, shaws, I was told time and time again to stay away from the seafood if sashimi was my end goal. I did once flirt with the idea of homemade lobster sashimi though, but given the condition of the tanks the lobsters lived in, I quickly became a skeptic. Imagine my excitement when I was finally introduced to this jewel in my neighborhood (Thank you internet!)

Since this is not supposed to be a review of a fishery, I will keep is succinct. The shop sells fresh sweet scallops (scallop tartare!) which I have no problem eating raw. They have sea bream, salmon, yellowfin tuna, yellow tail, monkfish, monkfish liver (I missed it, but boy am I looking forward to laying my hands on one), red snapper, oyster, lobster, crabs, mussels, clams, prawns just to name a few… Oh, did I mention green uni? (Stay tune, I will be making gnocchi with uni sauce real soon.) They hold some basic fresh produce and groceries as well, but don’t expect much.

Cost

One thing to note though, is cost. As tempting as it is to prepare chirashi don at home, does it make economical sense?

Fuji Kendall – 10 pieces of Chef’s Choice Sashmi $18

Whole food – $12-15 per lb of salmon

Shaws – $9-10 per lb of salmon

New Deal – $18 per lb of salmon

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What you see on the chopping board is about half a pound of fish in total for about $13.50. I can easily get 15 thick chunky sashimi pieces from, so clearly, it is cheaper than eating out. Duh… But compared to supermarket, New Deal is selling at a premium, for a good reason too. I would gladly pay more if I can enjoy the raw delicacy with a peace of mind. But if I was going to cook it anyway, hello shaws/whole food!

Scallop

New Deal – $26 per lb

Chinatown – $14 per lb

Whole foods – $28 per lb

Preparation

Why do you think sushi chefs spend so much time honing their skills? Because slicing fish is no joke. First, you have to think about the part of the fish to use, then the shape, the grain, the thickness. Depending on the factors listed, you will need to cut appropriately as well. Notice how fatty the salmon is? If you don’t make a clean cut (no see-saw action), the flesh will come apart along the fats, making for an unattractive piece of sashimi. Why do you think I chose to chirashi don instead of nigiri?

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To make a hearty bowl of chirashi don, I recommend using about half a pound of fish. Don’t forget the soy sauce and wasabi. You may sprinkle a sliver of ponzu zest for that citrus finesse, or torch some pieces of the sashimi for that smokey aroma.

 

Was it worth the trouble? Definitely!

 

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