I was never the most adventurous diner growing up and for many adventurous diners, I feel raw fish in its many forms, whether it be sashimi, ceviche or indeed carpaccio is the final frontier before diving headfirst into courageous eating. I remember my first foray into the world of raw seafood, during a group banquet dinner some kingfish sashimi was served up with chilli and lime. I couldn’t believe how unbelievably good it was and to this day it’s one of those dishes that’s immediately ordered if I see it on the menu.
I was recently the victim to a fairly severe craving for some kingfish sashimi which was finally satisfied last week at a lunch at Chin Chin. After lunch, I had that post-meal depression, the sort you get when you’re really happy with what you’ve just had but it’s mixed with the realisation it will probably be a while until you have it again. Enough is enough, I thought. I decided to undertake some raw fish dish making myself to some quite delicious results.
With no cooking involved and the hot weather looming on the horizon, this is a summery and fresh meal that will definitely be on high rotation this summer.
I shouldn’t have to remind you how important it is that you get the freshest fish possible, but I’ll say it again. It is terribly important that you get the freshest fish possible. This is not the kind of dish to be cutting corners and pinching pennies on, unless you’re the kind of person that likes to play Russian Roulette with your digestive system.
Go to the markets the day you’re planning to serve your carpaccio. Look for sashimi grade salmon or tuna and talk to your fishmonger to confirm that what you’re buying is right for a raw fish dish.
Salmon Carpaccio (serves four as an appetiser)
one piece of sashimi grade salmon or tuna (about 300 – 400g)
the juice of two lemons
the zest of one lemon
the zest of half an orange
two teaspoons caster sugar
one teaspoon sea salt
one large red chilli, sliced
two large stalks of spring onion, finely chopped
one extra lemon
sea salt & pepper
a handful of basil
Rinse your fish under the tap and pat dry with paper towel before wrapping in cling wrap. Pop this in the freezer for around an hour to firm up the flesh and make it easier to slice.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. To the juice and zests add the sugar, salt, chilli and spring onion and mix to combine. Remove your fish from the freezer, unwrap it and using a very sharp knife, slice it as thin as you possibly can, almost shaving the flesh along a diagonal.
In a wide, shallow dish, arrange a layer of the salmon and spoon over some of the dressing. Repeat this process, layering the salmon and the dressing.
Cover the dish with cling wrap, pressing it down on top of your salmon to form a sort of skin over the fish and submerging it into the marinade.
Refrigerate for a minimum of two hours, up to eight. Remove your salmon slices from the marinade and arrange on a plate. Spoon over some of the dressing and drizzle with olive oil and fresh lemon. Season with salt and pepper to taste and tear over a good handful of basil to serve.
Hot tip: carpaccio that has not been consumed within a day or so can be drained of its liquid, dusted in flour and pan-fried in olive oil for a delicious snack or the perfect filling for fish tacos.