Sashimi of Fluke with Sweet Shrimp
Other than foraged foods, ocean-caught wild fish are the only truly natural, organic food available in our changing world. Most super-fresh ocean fish can be eaten raw, which I think is the best representation of their flavor. When I moved to the East Coast, I discovered fluke and it quickly became one of my favorites. Fish love the sharpness of citrus, which is why I serve this with a sauce spiked with fresh lime juice. I always try to make this with the small, sweet shrimp called ama ebi. These tiny cold-water shrimp, best eaten raw, melt in your mouth with amazing sweetness-hence their nickname, "sweet shrimp." You can find them in Japanese markets, usually frozen. I fondly recall a drift-boat fishing trip with friends. I boarded the boat wearing a tool belt equipped with sharp knives, a canister of sea salt, and squeeze bottles filled with lemon juice, soy sauce, and wasabi. My fellow passengers thought I was nuts-until I started slicing and seasoning the various fish we caught! Did I mention that I had some chilled sake, too?
Total Timeunder 15 minutes
OccasionCocktail Party, Formal Dinner Party
Recipe Courseappetizer, hors d'oeuvre, tapas/small plates
Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, low calorie, low carb, peanut free, tree nut free
Taste and Textureherby, hot & spicy, light, tangy, tart
- 16 very thin slices sashimi-grade fluke, each about 2½-inches long and 1 inch wide
- 32 sprigs cilantro
- Thirty-two 1½-inch-long pieces fresh chives
- 24 small (30 count) sweet shrimp or regular shrimp, shelled, deveined, cooked, and chilled
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- Sambal olek or red Thai or Vietnamese chili sauce to taste
Lay the slices of fish on a work surface. Lay 2 cilantro sprigs and 2 chive pieces on each slice and roll so that the tops of the herbs extend from one end.
Stand the rolls on end on a chilled plate and arrange the shrimp along with them.
Combine the fish sauce and lime juice in a small ramekin or sauce dish. Stir in chili sauce to make the sauce as spicy as you like.
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2003 Michel Nischan