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Oct 9, 2008 11:57 PM

Wild pacific halibut - raw?

Hi - I bought a beautiful fillet at St. Lawrence Mkt. Part of the recipe I am using asks to take a piece of the fillet and marinate it - hence eating it raw...but marinated. Is this safe? The fish was not 'sashimi' grade - but totally fresh (but wild). I have but the small pieces in the freezer overnight - and will marinate it for a few hours tomorrow - is it okay to eat raw/marinated?


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  1. Halibut being a bottom feeder fish is susceptible to worms. Cooking will kill the worms, however eating it raw is another matter all together. Halibuts in my experience will often have worms in them (very light in colour), but that doesn't make them unsafe for consumption. Just as long as its cooked.

    6 Replies
    1. re: aser

      Thanks for the info - I appreciate the reply very much. Would freezing it kill any potential parasites? I"ve frozen it - and then marinated it in lime juice and olive oil.

      1. re: letaylor96

        You would have to freeze it to the appropriate temperature for the appropriate length of time, which you may not be able to do in your home freezer.

        1. re: tjr

          In Japan, I'm amazed to find sushi chef prepare Salmon ( another fish prone to parasites and worms ) by first rubbing the deboned fish with a large amount of salt, rinse, pat dry and then freeze the treated product before serving it at a later date!

          Also, Flounder, which is a distant bottom feeding flat fish cousin of the bigger Halibut is commonly used in sushi/sashimi. Applying the same rationale, I guess its perfectly OK to serve fresh Halibut raw. Besides, in cooking terms, the adding of lemon juice is basically ' cooking' the fish by curing!

          Lastly, most Japanese sushi chef I know personally believe, with proper preparation, ALL fish can be eaten raw! However, whether it taste good or not is another matter!! A fine example being the west coast Sable fish. Though often find in prestinely fresh condition, this fish is by-pass by Japanese sushi chefs for being too excessively oily in character!

          Have fun letaylor96, good luck and let us know the outcome! ( I don't mean if you get food poisoning or not? Ha!! )

          1. re: tjr

            thank you so much for taking the time to reply in such depth - I really appreciate and benefited from you comments :). I did serve it raw (cured)- nobody is ill 5 days after -phew. :) thank you again...

            1. re: letaylor96

              The problem with parasites is that they do not instantly manifest themselves, or even manifest themselves as some sort of food sickness. I'm with Charles on this one, but there is a difference between a trained sushi chef preparing fish and someone doing it at home. I've had halibut raw before, and haven't had any problems. I didn't prepare it though.

          2. re: letaylor96

            Off the top of my head, I don't know if halibut gets round worms that can also be hosted by humans, but if so the overnight freeze wasn't enough to kill them. Below -5 F for at least 3 days is the rule of thumb. So I wouldn't risk it; round worms are a very unpleasant (often fatal) affliction, and there's no need to risk that with raw fish in this day and age. Lightly steam or poach the fish, and get yourself a deep freezer. You can easily and safely do raw fish preparations if you have a good freezer (and they're great in other was as well).

        2. SLM isn't the place for sashimi grade fish. Taro is. Check his selection. It won't be cheap, either.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Kagemusha

            Taro - sounds like a japanese market. I will check it out. Thanks for the reply.

            1. re: letaylor96

              Not a ceviche - but a 12 hour lemon juice soak.. :) 5 days after everyone seems healthy - and it was a total hit (halibut 3 ways - steamed, pan fried and raw cured). I just used lemon juice - oil and maldon salt.

          2. Without knowing the ingredients to your marinade, it's impossible to know. Some are capable of 'cooking' the fish, say, ceviche style. Whatcha got?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Googs

              Right. Halibut is often used in ceviche-type preparations.