Salmon Sashimi with Ponzu Sauce
Ponzu sauce is very popular in Japan. You can buy it ready-made and most Japanese homes keep some in the fridge. If you make it yourself, you need to make it 24 hours before you want to use it. I love it with fresh warm tofu, as a dipping sauce for gyoza dumplings or to accompany a simple green salad and tomatoes. Here, the richness of the salmon is balanced by the citric sharpness of the ponzu. Finely shredded daikon (tsuma), or Japanese radish, is the perfect garnish.
|ponzu sauce (see recipe below)|
|l50-200g||fresh, sashimi-quality salmon fillet, skinned and boned (ask your fishmonger to do this for you)|
|10cm-long||piece of daikon (Japanese radish), or mooli|
|a handful||of cress, to garnish|
|For the ponzu sauce (makes approximately 175ml):|
|l00ml||tamari soy sauce|
|2 tbsp||of mirin|
|3cm x 3cm||piece of dried kombu (kelp)|
|a handful||of katsuobushi (bonito flakes)|
Remember to make the ponzu sauce a day before you need it. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl and keep in the fridge for 24 hours to rest. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a container or bottle. You can keep the ponzu sauce in the fridge for a few weeks. When it gets cloudy and loses its shine, it’s time to throw it out.
Place the salmon fillet on a chopping board. Holding your knife at a 20-degree angle, start to slice the fish from one end into 0.5cm-thick bite-size pieces, supporting the salmon lightly with the fingers of your other hand. Make sure you cut each slice in one smooth action - do not use a sawing motion or too much force.
If you are confident with your knife skills, you can slice your daikon using the ‘Katsura slice’. Hold the daikon and peel it very carefully in a circular direction using a sharp knife - as though you are peeling the skin off an apple. Keep turning the knife around the daikon, slicing until it is all finished, or just do as much as you can. The slices should be very thin - 2mm thick - and look like a sheet of paper. You could also use a potato peeler to do this. If you are using a Japanese mandolin or slicer, peel the daikon, then slice or shred it very thinly.
Slice your sheet-like pieces of daikon as thinly as you can, so that it is like string. Then soak it in cold water for 10 minutes and drain very well.
Mix a handful of the shredded daikon with the cress and place in the centre of the plate, then arrange the sashimi pieces around it. Serve the ponzu on the side, and drizzle it over the fish before eating.
Ponzu sauce can be useful for many things and keeps well, so make a generous amount.
Use a very sharp knife to cut the fish - I recommend using a Japanese sashimi knife.
Try different types of fish or shellfish.