When adding raw fish to your kitchen repertoire, it’s critical to know how to find the freshest, highest-quality catch possible. Robby Cook, executive sushi chef at Morimoto in NYC and co-author of The Complete Guide to Sushi & Sashimi, tells you how.
Tuna should be a deep red, like steak; salmon a robust coral. Avoid fish that looks slimy, dry, or shiny. “Some whitefish and tuna develop an iridescence as they age,” says Cook. “Sushi chefs have a word for it when it’s old or bad quality—rainbow-y.” When you press down on it, it should be firm and push back. Finally, take a whiff. If it smells fishy, don’t buy it. You want a light ocean scent.
Unfortunately they don’t come with labels, and “sushi quality” doesn’t really mean anything, says Cook. “If it’s fresh you can eat it raw—beef, fish, whatever.” Go for the specific fish that are geared toward sushi and sashimi, like tuna, salmon, yellowtail, striped bass, and snapper. “If you’re able to source directly from the docks or fishermen, there’s nothing better,” he says.