How To Choose The Freshest Fish For Sushi, By Chef NaokiJuly 3, 2018
At age 19, Chef Naoki’s first job was at a Japanese fish market. We decided to ask him for some of the tips and tricks he used when trying to find the freshest fish to use at his own sushi restaurant.
First and foremost, your nose will tell you the truth! A fresh fish should not have a very “fishy” smell. Once you have used your keen sense of smell, Chef Naoki’s next piece of advice is to look at the eye of the fish, which should appear bright and clear. As time goes on, the eye of the fish becomes cloudier and the fish becomes less fresh.
Second, Chef Naoki explains the importance of checking the gill for color and clarity. The gill should be a very bright red color with a clean feeling. An older fish will have a brown-red color and feel slimy.
Third, you must slide your hand down the scales of the fish to ensure that the fish is not slimy or dry and that the scales are firm and not damaged. Damaged scales could represent mishandling or product that is less fresh. Next, you must poke your finger along the side of the fish to see how firm the flesh is. The fish’s skin should bounce back with the same buoyancy as your own.
While working in the Japanese fish market, Chef Naoki tells us that one of the “work perks” was being able to sample the different fish each day as his employee meal. He says that his favorite fish is any kind that comes from the Mackerel family because of the wonderful flavor. Chef Naoki makes sure to always use the most seasonal and best quality fish in all of his nigiri, sashimi, and maki, and his attention to detail is what makes each bite the best at Naoki Sushi in Lincoln Park Chicago!