Kwame Onwuachi Tips On Picking Fresh Hamachi For Raw Fish Dishes - Exclusive

Next time you're hungry for a sashimi-based dish, go for hamachi, as celeb chef Kwame Onwuachi does when preparing his take on a Jamaican-inspired escovitch, both at his NYC restaurant Tatiana and at the 2023 U.S. Open on-site restaurant, Aces. "I think hamachi has just a really nice mouth feel and melt," Onwuachi explained to Tasting Table during an exclusive interview in honor of his participation in the U.S. Open's signature food event. If the chef can't convince you of the merits of hamachi, perhaps NYC's culinary critics can. "The texture melts in your mouth," wrote Carina Finn for The Infatuation after eating Onwuachi's hamachi escovitch at Tatiana.

To get the best out of a raw hamachi experience, you'll need to know how to pick the fish from your preferred fishmonger. Should you buy a whole hamachi, the James Beard Rising Star Chef Award winner told us to look for clear eyes and bright red gills. Hamachi, however, doesn't usually come with its head on. In such cases, says Onwuachi, touch it. Fresh hamachi should be "slightly firm to the touch with a little give," he detailed. "I would massage it, so it would bounce and snap [up]." The chef added that "fishy aromas" and "slimy" fish scales, on the other hand, are red flags to be avoided.

Kwame Onwuachi serves his hamachi with a carrot nage

Kwame Onwuachi serves his raw hamachi in a carrot nage, which in French cuisine is a vegetable broth in which a chef might traditionally poach a piece of fish before thickening it and serving it as a sauce alongside the seafood.

Per the culinary celeb, a nage is a great way to serve fresh fish, too. Onwuachi has designed his (which he makes out of pickled and fermented peppers, caramelized carrot juice, ginger, and garlic puree) to add "flavor and acidity," and to "brighten the dish up." If attempting a nage on your own for the first time, consistency is your keyword, says the chef. You're not looking to create a broth for your fish to swim in. "It should have some body to it, but not be like a puree," Onwuachi told Tasting Table. "It's kind of like in between a puree and maybe a soup."