So…what is sashimi grade fish? Many people believe that sashimi grade fish is fish that has been authorised to be sold as ‘sashimi grade’. This is not true. ‘Sashimi grade’ is a term used to describe fish that is ‘best in class’. In a way, the concept of sashimi grade isn’t wrong in peoples minds, just the idea that there is an independent body regulating the quality is incorrect. Often we take customer calls with people referring to this mythical sashimi grade authority that doesn’t exist, we politely proceed to explain the term ‘sashimi grade’.
To justify selling fish under the term ‘sashimi grade’, the fish must be fresh and in good physical condition. It is very important that the fish is treated well from capture through to preparation. Bruising of the flesh can be detrimental to the texture and the overall raw eating experience. When we had a sashimi trainer visiting us at Fish Palace a few weeks ago he told us how fish destined for sashimi should be landed and packed in a very specific way to preserve the flesh integrity. For example, he said in Japan all fish may be laid on their left side all facing a specific way in the box, therefore leaving the right side untouched.
Have you ever seen one of the American fishing shows where they poke a little metal tube into a monster tuna withdrawing some meat? This process is grading the quality of the fish. At this stage, some of the very best fish are separated off for ‘AAA sashimi’ grade fish. ‘AAA sashimi grade’ is just a sashimi marketing term that is floated around in the wholesale seafood industry that I wanted to sneak into this post somewhere. 🙂
Here are last month’s top 5 selling sashimi items.
It is Skrei Cod season. Skrei cod is a fish with a story. Increasingly people want to look past what’s immediately on their plate and understand where it came from and why it is a good meal choice! Skrei cod migrate south from the Arctic to Northern Norwegian coasts at this time of year. The swim is long and rigorous meaning the fish are extremely lean when they enter the fishing grounds. Sometimes with other large cod of different origin, the flesh can be slightly pappy and fatty. The strict Norwegian catching quota means that the stock is respected and sustainably managed. Not all cod caught in that area at this time of year are defined as skrei cod; they have to adhere to a very high standard of quality to be sold as ‘skrei’. We pay more for this impressive fish than standard ‘cod’, but we believe that quality and origin are becoming more appreciated than the price per portion.
Firstly, let’s round off 2017! It was a great year for us culminating in a smashing Christmas. We sent out a record number of lobsters, smoked salmon and crabs. If you had a Christmas order from us, we hope it made your festive period special!
We have a few new faces around the office, perhaps you have even spoken to some of them on the phone? We were delighted to welcome Liam, Liz, Gracjan and Damian to the team. We also brought on a number of new and exciting products such as 70% Irish battered scampi, Japanese cut yellowtail kingfish and hot smoked potted trout to name a few.
We were pleased to have extended Fish Palace by breaking through into the neighbouring building. We added another Frozen cold room to store many more exciting fishy delights.
Last year we had to search long and hard to find a few highly demanded fish. The wild salmon season in Scotland and the North of England was near non-existent. We had almost written it off when we caught word of some prime wild Norwegian fish that had been squirrelled away in France. After a quick trip over the channel to check they were the real deal we had an order in. Shortly after Gracjan was put to work cutting and prepping the fish for your Christmas orders. The second great challenge for us was Kingklip. Towards the end of 2016 our supply of kingklip was becoming restricted, no one seemed to be importing it into the UK. Due to high demand, we got our detective hats on and went in search of the much loved deep sea pink fish. A few breadcrumbs drew us to New Zealand where they fish for MASSIVE kingklip off the South West coast. Our next problem was getting it over here… luckily a nice trader from Billingsgate fish market allowed us a guest spot on his frozen container being shipped from New Zealand.
So…what’s happening this year?
New and exciting species of fish and seafood
Yellowtail Kingfish: Farmed in the warm Southern waters of Australia these kingfish are real specimens. We are now selling whole Japanese cut fillets which is a new style for us. You will get the collar and the lower fin still attached to the yellowtail fillet. In Japanese cuisine, they hold these areas of the kingfish in high regard.
Blue abalone (Paua – the maori name): These stunning electric blue abalones are raised in the north of New Zealand from the pristine clear waters of Bream Bay. The farm recently acquired Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification. The farm is land based with an intelligent sea water recirculation system.
New Zealand Snapper: A favourite of Jeremy’s. Don’t let the name fool you, the NZ snapper is more closely related to a sea bream rather than an Asian or American red snapper. Their flesh is white and meaty when cooked and goes great with lime, garlic and chilli.
Let’s get saucy: We are very excited to be offering a trio of Cheeky Boy sauces. Kaye – The Founder of Cheeky Boy dropped in to see us and did a sauce tasting. We were blown away. He makes the sauces using only natural ingredients and all the sauces are spiced up with fresh ginger and a selection of other awesome ingredients. We recommend buying the trio for £7.70 to see which one is your favourite.
History of The Fish Society
2018 is The Fish Society’s 25th birthday. Alistair set the company up as ‘Serious About Fish’ in 1993. We now have employees who were born after 1993! We will be putting together a little booklet showcasing the history of the company. In addition to this booklet, we are hoping to host a fishy celebratory lunch, serving the best seafood the world has to offer.
This is our most exciting project to be launched this year. We have been working very hard to scrutinise our current website and work out what our customers would like to see on a new and updated site. We are hoping to have the site live before Easter. One of the areas we are focussing on is the origin and specification of our fish. The most asked questions are; where is the fish from? Is it wild or farmed? Is it cooked? Etc. Each fillet, steak and fish is going to have an information key that will help you build a picture of where each fish came from and how you should treat it. We are very excited to get the site launched and hope you will give us some feedback when we do so.