Making sashimi at home
I am stuck in Barcelona for a few more weeks (I know, tough!) and am hankering for good sushi/sashimi. Most of the japanese places here suck. Rather than using local fish, most use the usual suspects (tuna, salmon, etc.) that are probably frozen and flown in from who-knows-where.
I live a few doors down from a fish market and my local fishmonger is supplied with beautiful local fish only minutes off the boat. So, why not make my sashimi at home?
Problem is I don't know what can be eaten raw and what cannot.
The most common Mediterranean fish that I find at the market are the following:
1. Makarel (barat)
2. Monkfish (rape)
3. Hake (Merluza)
4. Dorada (gilthead bream)
5. Gallo (sole)
6. Cuttlefish and Squid
Can any other these things be used for sushi? Are they better cooked?
Freshness and quality are a must. When in doubt, cook it. But just about any saltwater fish can be eaten raw, so long as it's high quality, free of parasites, and very fresh.
Some of those you've identified are traditional for sashimi. Spanish mackerel a/k/a aji is really good. But it's oily, so it has to be very, very fresh. Monkfish loins make a nice mild sashimi; if you can score the liver, that's a delicacy in its own right. And squid - the itamae at my local sushi-ya makes a great ika. Sweet, tender thin strips, sprinkled with tobiko. Yum.
I think the tuna is OK provided it is fresh. Ask when and where the fish was caught, No more than 2 days. Ask what species of tuna is it? look for blue fin or yellow fin. I do not know what the Spanish names for those species are. If you are looking at fillets, the meat should be the same color as you see at the sushi bar and somewhat translucent.. If the fish is whole, the eyes should be clear. The gills bright red. The meat should be firm and not separating or splitting. The bones should not be falling from the flesh. It should not have a strong smell. Basically, the fish should look like if you throw in the ocean it should swim away.
Hamachi is not native to that area. If you do see it, it is imported.
As for other fish, you need to be careful. The Mediteranean is polluted. Pollution weakens the fish resistance to parasites. If you want to try it, I would go to a local sushi bar and see what they are serving. Ask if the fish is local or imported. I would eat only whatever local fish they are serving.
The fishmonger will have to advise you what is "sashimi" quality or not. A seafood purchaser friend of mine at Tsukiji market suggested one option if you are not sure of the quality of a product, lightly cooking it "shabu-shabu" style and then dipping it in a ponzu sauce.
The ponzu sauce can be made from soy sauce, mirin and yuzu (or another) citrus juice.
Thinly slice the fish. Boil a pot of water and lightly cook the fish in the water, dip in the ponzu sauce and enjoy!
I did this the other day with some hamachi (yellowtail) that was questionable and the results were fantastic.