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Alternatives to alcohol for curing fresh raw salmon for sashimi

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I am looking for alternatives to sake/mirin for curing fresh raw salmon for sashimi.

 

One of my good chef friend warned me about sake/mirin on sashimi for people that are allergic to alcohol and children consuming alcohol.

 

Any suggestions?

 

Thanks in advance!


Edited by Simon Li - 8/16/16 at 6:45pm
post #2 of 13
I've never heard of curing salmon for sashimi.

If you're talking about sushi rice, though, sub a little sugar for morin in conjunction with the vinegar. Or omit the sweet entirely.
post #3 of 13

I've never heard of curing salmon for sushi either. Why not the usual salt cure?  At least that would take care of those with allergies to alcohol but probably not those people who are allergic to children. 

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Haha. Thanks!
post #5 of 13
So while we're on that topic, is it a friend who is a good chef, or a good friend who is a chef?
post #6 of 13

green tea or verjus blanc

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #7 of 13

OK, here goes. 

 

Curing fish is an almost necessary thing to do for sashimi. It is related to 2 things...taste and texture. The cure firms it up, and obviously season the fish so it tastes better.

 

The curing process could include things like sake or mirin. Similar to using pernod, brandy or aquavit when curing gravlox. 

 

The liquid part is not necessary though, it is only for flavor. So you can easily leave this off the fish with little not no ill effect. 

 

I don't really think that alcohol allergies are common enough to effect the general public. I don't think I've run into it very often in my career. Most people with a true allergy to something will let you know, and you can always use it on some dishes and leave it off a couple in order to keep an option or two for allergies. Like, you could use it for salmon and mackerel, but not for the scallop (or whatever). 

 

I wouldn't worry about kids. Not too many kids eat sushi, and even if they did, the minuscule amount of alcohol on the fish isn't going to affect them in any way. That is a total non issue to me. 

 

But I highly recommend curing your fish. Most really good sushi places do it. Just to be clear, we are not talking about the type of cure you would use for a smoked fish, or a cured fish like gravlox, these are lighter cures meant to firm up and season the fish. The firmness makes cutting the fish much easier and more consistent, improves the texture for eating, and makes it taste better. No brainer. 

post #8 of 13

Well that's interesting. I'm quite aware of freezing as a method (requirement in some places) for parasite control. But curing is a new one on me.  Intellectually I can understand but never had sashimi that was either advertised as cured or tasted cured.

 

Nonetheless, alcohol isn't a necessity of curing - salt, sugar and time is all that is needed... and even the sugar is optional. In most curing alcohol serves only to carry certain flavoring elements that are soluble in alcohol rather than water... or for transmitting the unique flavor of the alcoholic beverage itself.

 

The only objection to culinary alcohol use I've ever encountered is from folks who are recovering alcoholics. That is not an allergy, per se, but good reason to avoid any contact.

post #9 of 13

Again, I'll say its not really cured in the sense like gravlox or smoked salmon. Its a lighter cure just meant to firm texture and impart seasoning. So, it doesn't necessarily "taste" cured in that sense. But it is definitely noticeable if you compare side by side to simple raw fish. 

 

I'm not sure how many sushi places do it, but I know if you go to high end sushi places or japanese restaurants, they are almost certainly doing this. 

post #10 of 13
Sure. Again, I've never heard of that with salmon. Maybe I don't eat in sushi houses of the pepper caliber, or maybe it is so subtle I never notice. Not questioning you at all. I'm aware of salt and vinegar cure on mackerel though. I'll have to ask when eating sushi next... Just to further my education. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
post #11 of 13

:thumb:

post #12 of 13

Is the salmon you cure for sushi is pre frozen sushi grade?

post #13 of 13

Before you use an alcoholic ingredient to a marinade you should cook the alcohol out.  The flavor is what you are looking for.  Alcohol can do some funky things to proteins.  

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