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sushi salmon question

do I absolutely have to use 'sushi grade' salmon to make sushi? I'm thinking about picking up some salmon from a local supermarket (Dominon in Toronto) this afternoon to make some maki rolls for tonight. How risky is it to do that?

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  1. Some say I have a strong stomach, others (my stomach) would disagree. However, I recently made the tuna and fried green onion recipe from this site, alas, with 'regular' bluefin tuna, because the store didn't have sashimi grade. Even though they warned me, I had no problems whatsoever. I often serve (regular) salmon medium-rare, as in 'still raw inside'. No problems either.

    2 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      I always serve "regular" salmon medium rare, with no ill effects. However, I always buy wild Alaskan salmon, not the farmed North Atlantic. Although, recently a new fish monger told DH that Canadian laws pretaining to farmed fish are stricter than the U.S. Don't know how true that is.....

      1. re: Gio

        I make salmon tartare and gravlax out of wild salmon, but both of those have some curing to them, of course.

    2. Well, the chances of you getting contaminated fish is probably not terribly high, so if you so desire, using the market salmon is probably all right from the risk standpoint. However, grading, as far as I'm familiar with it, which isn't much, is more dependent on quality of meat, the firmness of the flesh and the fat content, rather than safety factors. I don't know what regulations are like in Canada, but in the US, all fish have to comply to certain FDA requirements, though there is no FDA sushi/sashimi grade.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ali

        That's very interesting, Ali. I always wondered whether the 'sashimi grade' referred to the quality of the fish or the safe-r handling of it... I do love my raw salmon.

      2. I don't know about Canada, but in the US, there's no such thing (officially, that is) as "sashimi grade" when it comes to fish...it's mostly a marketing term. Also, you have to be careful with salmon and other anadromous fish, because they are more likely to have parasites that, if eaten, can ruin your day.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ricepad

          Freeze prior to serving raw, which should reduce or eliminate parasites.

          1. re: scubadoo97

            Yes, and doesn't that actually happen at sea?

            1. re: Gio

              Freezing at zero degrees F for a couple of days will kill them (eliminate), but won't reduce them. I don't know if the holds of fishing boats keep the catch that cold, and there's no guarantee that they've been there for 48 hours, either. I'll eat a lot of strange stuff, but I'm not real big on eating parasites in my fish, alive OR dead.

        2. It is very risky. Wild salmon frequently has parasites and has to be specially frozen, checked with a special light, and defrosted before use. Farm raised salmon is far, far worse.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JudiAU

            I've read that farmed salmon is actually much cleaner as far as parasites are concerned (pollutants and chemicals are another matter).

            1. re: Humbucker

              Yes, I've also read that farmed is safer from parasites than wild. I actually prefer farmed salmon for eating raw; wild can be chewy and almost too "fishy" tasting.

          2. As noted elsewhere, in the U.S. "sushi grade" fish has no legal meaning - a seller may legally call any fish "sushi/sashimi grade"

            Also as noted, TTBOMK, the crux of the biscuit is the freezing.