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sushi picSASHIMI.

Sashimi, or literally the "sliced flesh" of raw fish without any rice, may at first seem an unbearably exotic, even barbaric dish to foreigners. Yet in South America, seviché, or raw fish eaten with lemon juice, is a popular delicacy. Again, in the West, raw cherrystone clams and oysters, not to mention steak tartar and extra rare roast beef are common, so the odorless and succulent meat of flipping fresh fish ought rightly to be welcomed into the ranks of haute cuisine. Sashimi is prized not as a meal, but rather as a delectable hors d'oeuvre akin to a fine pâté or filet mignon appetizer. It goes along with sake at parties and banquets, or with tempura, eel and nabemono meals.
Sashimi is eaten with chopsticks, being dipped into a low dish containing a specially prepared sashimi soy sauce mixture into which one should mix the light green cone of wasabi horseradish found in one's sashimi bowl. The soy sauce is spiced occasionally with grated ginger gari which serves the same purpose of freshening one's mouth as wasabi horseradish.

Styles of Sashimi Preparation
Plain raw fish without rice. Five or six one-half inch thick rectangular slices come arranged like fallen dominoes either in a bowl or on a wooden tray. Other garnishes (tsuma) which add color are carrots, cucumbers, chrysanthemum flowers (bitter but edible!) and shiso, which is a delicious leaf blending the flavors of lemon and mint. Another popular way of serving sashimi is in paper-thin slices arranged in a rosette pattern on a platter. The sauce in this case is a tangy mixture of citrus and soy sauce called ponzu.
Literally "pounded," refers to sashimi with its outer meat softened either by light mincing of the surface, or more commonly, brazing over a charcoal fire before being sliced. Katsuo skipjack is a favorite served this way.
Arai is a type of sashimi especially served during the hot summer season. Tai bream or koi carp slices are placed on a dish, and hot water is then poured over them until the outsides turn white and the slices curl up.
Ikezukuri or literally "live masterpiece" requires the highest skill in preparing raw fish. A live fish is selected from the restaurant's fish tank; in some restaurants, the diner himself makes the selection. The chef then prepares it by slicing the meat off one side of the backbone. The sashimi is then placed amongst a seaweed garnish and carefully arranged against the carcass, which still trembling, is set bowed as if it magically jumped out of the water and onto your plate. Ikezukuri is without a doubt the chef d'oeuvre of freshness.

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