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Fishy Business

How to make sashimi at home
Slurping Turtle

Sashimi isn't often an ideal make-at-home option. But chef Takashi Yagihashi of Chicago's Slurping Turtle has changed our minds--and weeknight meals--for the better. His salmon sashimi is flash-marinated in a potent mixture of sake, bonito, shiso and ginger juice. Each ingredient subtly works its way into the fish, imparting a burst of umami into each bite. For another flavor punch, Yagihashi tops the sashimi slices with slightly spicy pickled cucumber, fennel and red onion (the leftover pickled vegetables give fish tacos a killer Japanese accent). For the best quality dish, be sure to buy sashimi-quality salmon from a reliable fishmonger.

Sesame-Soy Marinated Salmon

Recipe adapted from Takashi Yagihashi, Slurping Turtle, Chicago

Yield: Serves 4

Cook Time: 15 minutes (plus 30 minutes for cooling and marinating)


½ small English seedless cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced

½ small fennel bulb, cored and very thinly sliced

¼ small red onion, very thinly sliced

1 cup rice vinegar

½ cup granulated sugar

⅓ cup mirin (Japanese rice wine)

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

One 8-ounce fillet skinless sushi-grade salmon (preferably West Coast wild salmon)


⅓ cup soy sauce

⅓ cup sake

⅓ cup mirin (Japanese rice wine)

⅓ cup bonito flakes

One 3-inch piece kombu (kelp seaweed)

1½-inch piece fresh ginger, skin scraped away and finely grated

1 teaspoon white sesame seeds

2 tablespoons chopped fresh shiso leaves (optional)

2 teaspoons chile oil


1. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, fennel and red onion. In a small saucepan, bring the rice vinegar, sugar, mirin, soy sauce, salt and red pepper flakes to a boil, pour over the vegetables and set aside for 20 minutes (or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use, up to one week).

2. Make the marinade: In a medium saucepan, combine the soy sauce, sake and mirin and bring to a boil. Add the bonito flakes and kombu, simmer for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. While the soy marinade cools, place the ginger in a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl and press down to extract the juice. Pour the juice into the soy marinade, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until chilled (the marinade can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days).

3. Strain the chilled marinade through a fine-mesh sieve (discard the solids). Reserve ½ cup of the marinade for serving, then pour the remaining marinade into a 10-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan. Add the salmon to the pan and marinate for 5 minutes, flipping after 2½ minutes.

4. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until golden and fragrant, shaking the skillet often, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small plate and set aside.

5. Remove the salmon from the marinade and place on a cutting board. Thinly slice the salmon crosswise into 20 pieces. Divide the salmon slices among 4 plates and top each serving with some pickled vegetables, shiso leaves (if using), toasted sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons of the reserved marinade and chile oil.

Test Kitchen Approved

We collaborate with a lot of talented chefs and tinker with everything in our test kitchen. Our goal is to make sure every recipe works as well in your home kitchen as it does in ours. So go on, cook with confidence.


Go to Slurping Turtle's Website

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