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How to tell if Seafood is "sushi grade"

h
helicub81 May 30, 2012 07:39 PM

Hi,

I'm relatively new to cooking and I was thinking about pan frying salmon. All of the recipes on the internet say to cook it until it has a "pink center", which I am assuming means just a bit undercooked. So I went to buy a filet today and basically the butcher told me that the salmon he sold was not "sushi grade" and therefore, he wouldn't recommend eating it slightly undercooked.

My question is, how do I know if the fish is "good" And i guess the question applies to the beef too. How would I know if like a rib eye is safe to eat med-rare? Because doing it well done seems like a waste

Jason

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  1. f
    fourunder May 30, 2012 08:31 PM

    Sushi Grade is a confusing term. Generally, it means fish has been frozen to -4*F or -31*F for a predetermined amount of time......in a nutshell, this is done to kill any parasites that may exist. There are many who feel this is not necessary for all species of fish, but a prerequisite for tuna and salmon.

    As long as you have a reliable source to purchase your fish or meat, you should not need to worry about cooking fresh fish to medium rare temperature in my opinion .....this is the same for quality beef as well. Sushi Grade is more of a concern for eating fish raw or slightly seared.

    http://www.sushifaq.com/sushi-sashimi...

    1. a
      AlkieGourmand May 30, 2012 10:06 PM

      My personal opinion: All fresh seafood is sushi grade. Parasites are not a serious concern except in freshwater fish, and even for freshwater fish "serious concern" is really stretching it. The worst that's ever happened to me is abdominal discomfort. FDA nonsense about freezing seafood should be disregarded, just like its nonsense about pasteurizing dairy products should be disregarded.

      7 Replies
      1. re: AlkieGourmand
        f
        fourunder May 30, 2012 10:27 PM

        Sometimes, the reasons for many food handle measures are practical.....not only for safety. *Fresh Fish* is also an arguable term when concerning commercial fishing, as the fish can easily be a week old before it reaches any dock or processing facility.

        I would rather eat fish caught and frozen at sea, rather than improperly handled fish that has exhausted its shelf life from a fishmonger or other market.

        1. re: AlkieGourmand
          j
          jhopp217 May 31, 2012 01:38 AM

          While I agree with everything you said, in the US freezing is required by the FDA. I'm sure you can find places this isn't followed, but who knows.

          A friend of mine caught a tuna and the mate filleted it right on the boat and before he threw it on ice, he cut thin slices for the guys who caught it. My buddy said it was unlike anything he has ever tasted and actually ruined his love for restaurant or fish monger sushi

          1. re: jhopp217
            twyst Jun 2, 2012 01:57 PM

            "A friend of mine caught a tuna and the mate filleted it right on the boat and before he threw it on ice, he cut thin slices for the guys who caught it. My buddy said it was unlike anything he has ever tasted and actually ruined his love for restaurant or fish monger sushi"

            Tuna is the exception to the frozen fish sushi law, so you are not always eating frozen tuna when you eat sushi at a restaurant, but I would have to agree that once you have had it literally right out of the water its hard to have it any other way.

          2. re: AlkieGourmand
            cowboyardee May 31, 2012 09:29 AM

            "Parasites are not a serious concern except in freshwater fish, and even for freshwater fish "serious concern" is really stretching it."
            _________
            Depends on what one considers a serious concern. The incidence of parasites in fish - both freshwater and seawater fish - is surprisingly high. In some species, any given fish is more likely than not to be infected. Thankfully, many of these parasites don't pose any known health risks to humans, but there are exceptions.

            Anisakis is especially notable. It is quite common in wild salmon (among some other species) but significantly less common in farmed fish. It is extremely difficult to spot. It can cause nausea and vomiting in humans shortly after ingestion, and more rarely a series of more severe and prolonged GI symptoms starting weeks after ingestion. These symptoms are notoriously difficult to diagnose accurately, so the actual incidence of infection in humans is something of a question mark. The upside of it - more often than not, it passes through the human GI tract without any damage done whatsoever. But there is undoubtedly a risk. 'Serious concern"? Depends on how seriously such things concern you.

            1. re: cowboyardee
              f
              fourunder May 31, 2012 09:39 AM

              Wasn't there a report just this week that Pacific Tuna was caught and found to be *radioactive*?

              1. re: fourunder
                n
                NVJims Jun 25, 2012 10:23 AM

                ALL fish are radioactive as they contain potassium 40 and other naturally occurring radionuclides.

            2. re: AlkieGourmand
              f
              fourunder Jun 22, 2012 05:51 PM

              My personal opinion: All fresh seafood is sushi grade. .....
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

              You may want to rethink that position....i.e., not knowing where the true source comes from.

              http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/201...

            3. 1POINT21GW May 30, 2012 11:25 PM

              As long as the beef you're buying has been butchered and handled in a clean atmosphere before and after you buy it (clean equipment and clean butcher) and has been held at a safe temperature (under 40 degrees) (and most reputable purveyors and sellers of beef meet these criteria), you'll be find cooking your beef to medium rare.

              Bacteria isn't on the inside of the meat, it's on the outside.

              The rapid destruction of dangerous bacteria begins at 160 degree F and higher. When you cook your rib eye and it browns on the outside, you are bringing the outside of the rib eye to such a high temperature that it kills the bacteria that might have resided on the outside of the rib eye, thus rendering it safe to eat.

              Your main concern should be external temperature rather than internal temperature. And, considering that meat only begins to brown at 230 degrees F (and the outside of your rib eye is probably going to be well browned), you'll be just fine with an internal temperature of medium rare.

              5 Replies
              1. re: 1POINT21GW
                sunshine842 May 30, 2012 11:48 PM

                and this applies to fish because....?

                If your butcher told you that he wouldn't recommend eating it slightly undercooked, he's not-too-subtly telling you that that fish isn't as fresh as it perhaps should be. Frankly, I would buy fish somewhere else, as it's not fresh enough for me to buy it.

                1. re: sunshine842
                  1POINT21GW May 31, 2012 12:11 AM

                  "and this applies to fish because....?"

                  From the OP:

                  "And i guess the question applies to the beef too. How would I know if like a rib eye is safe to eat med-rare? Because doing it well done seems like a waste"

                  Concerning the fish, a pink center is not "undercooked". Also, many butchers don't know all that much about cooking, much less fish, to be quite honest. They also want to cover their rear. These two things lead to comments like "I wouldn't recommend eating it slightly undercooked".

                  1. re: 1POINT21GW
                    sunshine842 May 31, 2012 12:27 AM

                    sorry, missed it. Not enough coffee.

                    1. re: sunshine842
                      1POINT21GW May 31, 2012 12:38 AM

                      No problem.

                2. re: 1POINT21GW
                  cowboyardee May 31, 2012 09:08 AM

                  The issue with fish, as pointed out above, is less about bacteria and more about parasites, which do get into the flesh of the fish. Sushi grade fish has been frozen in such a way that kills parasites, and has ostensibly been examined closely by someone that knows what they're looking for - parasites can be extremely difficult to spot.

                  In beef, you are right that it is primarily the external temperature that matters, though it is important to note that you are taking a minor leap of faith that the steak you are about to cook and eat has never been pierced before cooking, which could deposit some of the bacteria on the surface of the meat into the meat's center.

                3. j
                  jerry i h Jun 2, 2012 01:35 PM

                  When i was retail fish monger a couple of decades ago, the term 'sushi' grade applied only to raw tuna. it has a parasite that is transferable to humans. So, freezing it as indicated in a post above kills it, making raw tuna safe to eat.
                  Salmon, however, is a different story. This fish also has a parasite that humans can pick up: I was taught to detect it very easily, because when you fillet the whole fish, the meat has a squishy, wrong texture: at that point, you took the whole shebang, set it aside, cleaned your station, and bagged it, giving to my supervisor. However, there is no such test or designation for salmon that I am aware of. You have to trust your sushi chef or fish monger to be diligent about this and not sell it to you unawares.
                  Other than that, as far as I was trained, all seafood is safe to eat raw, as long as your source is reliable. On this point, you might want to find a veteran sushi chef on these boards for a more reliable answer.

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