Tuna is an expensive investment for dinner, so it's important to pick a cut that's both fresh and delicious. If steaks have been pre-cut, look for flesh that is moist, translucent, and shiny. Though color can vary, most types of tuna will possess a deep red or pink. Avoid grey or brown meat at all costs and ask your fishmonger to cut directly from an entire filet, if possible.
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If your tuna is cut into steaks or filets, they can be patted dry, wrapped, and stacked in plastic wrap. Tuna has one of the shortest shelf lives among fish, so it should typically be consumed within 24 hours of purchasing.
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Tuna is effectively frozen as an ice block. Place an individual steak or filet into a zip-top plastic bag, fill with water, and squeeze out the remaining air. The tuna can remain frozen in the ice block for up to three months. Note: most grocery store tuna has been previously frozen. If this is the case, you do not want to refreeze it.
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Storing sushi rolls can be quite tricky, as most are made with a variety of different ingredients. The best approach is to rid the roll of any excess water, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and store it in a sealed container to prevent air from coming into contact. Stored sushi should never be consumed beyond one day.
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Next: How to Freeze Sushi
You do not want to freeze sushi. Cooked rice and seaweed are not appetizing when thawed. Most sushi fish is also pre-frozen upon arrival and should not be frozen again.
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Not all fish and shellfish are meant to be consumed raw. To avoid the presence of parasites and bacteria, it’s important that all sushi fish be pre-frozen prior to consumption. This will help to kill things like worms, which are extremely common in salmon. It also goes without saying that fish must be fresh. Most sushi fish is caught, gutted, and immediately iced to ensure that bacteria has little time to begin growing. Be sure to ask a grocery store professional for guidance before purchasing.
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This simple and super fresh first course, Tuna Tataki with Heirloom Tomato Crudo from chef Richard Blais’s new cookbook, So Good: 100 Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours, demands top-tier ingredients, particularly sushi-grade tuna and pristine tomatoes. If you find saku blocks (a staple in sushi chef’s kitchens: flash-frozen yellowtail tuna blocks all cut to the same exact size), get those. Otherwise, you can ask your fishmonger to cut any sushi-grade tuna into bricks of about 12 ounces each. Although the recipe calls for grape or cherry tomatoes, buy whichever tomatoes look best; you can always cut them down to size if they’re larger heirloom varieties.
The sweet, juicy tomatoes and seared tuna are accented with light, bright Asian flavors, including shoyu (or white soy sauce, milder and thinner than the usual soy sauce), sesame seeds, sesame oil, garlic, and yuzu juice. Togarashi, a Japanese spice powder, is optional, but a great addition if you can find it —or you can always make your own! The shiso leaves are another delicious ingredient that might be hard to find; their flavor is unique, and while neither basil nor cilantro will replicate it, they’re both fine substitutes for the herb in this dish.
For more Japanese-inflected flavors, get our Miso Soup with Napa Cabbage and Udon recipe, and our Pan-Seared Radishes with Miso Butter recipe.