Where to get sushi grade fish
Does anyone know if this is available locally (outside the sushi restaurants that is). I found a website that has gotten some good reviews (http://www.catalinaop.com/) but they have a pretty hefty shipping fee of $20 so I'd have to buy a ton to get my money's worth.
Also, is it really true that most sushi restaurants in the country use frozen fish for their sushi?
I believe FDA regulations require that for fish to be served "raw", it must first be frozen. Is that true only for sushi sold in restaurants? I would imagine that even for a fishmonger to sell fish labelled as fit for sushi/sashimi, the requirement that the fish be first frozen will apply.
Not a link to the law, but convincing: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/08/nyr...
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Freshwater fish is always frozen. Most salt-water fish is, but not all. The freezing isn't as bad as it sounds-- if you can get fish cold enough, quickly enough, the effect is minimal on texture, etc. And we're all much safer for it. Talking to sushi chefs, some of the deepest-dwelling fish may not be frozen, but even so, they'll still have a fair number of parasites that you want a professional to size up.
As an addendum: most sushi-grade fish is flash-frozen, something one can think of as akin to flash-pasteurized. Say 30 minutes at something well below freezing in any measurement system. The effect is a bit different than 48 hours at 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
And I would wager that every fish at Whole Foods has been frozen at some point (though I still love the store and respect differing opinions).
To get a non-frozen (maybe) specimen, you'd need to go somewhere that is or has a direct supplier-- say San Miguel Seafood, or someone with a connection to Tsukiji fish market.
"Catalina" is an excellent company with quality products. And the shipping fee of $20 for receiving such high-quality fresh seafood is more than reasonable.
And yes - most if not ALL sushi restaurants use frozen fish for their sushi. Reason #1? To be safe, nearly all raw seafood needs to be frozen for at least 48 hours in order to kill parasites. Reason #2? Seafood is a highly perishable product - only lasting 2-3 days at best; less if being served raw. To keep a constant pristine-fresh supply on hand at all times would be cost prohibitive.
Think about it.