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Sushi and Sashimi grade tuna. Here's the good news, we sell both #1 and #2 Sushi Grade Tuna. Our suppliers sell sushi grade tuna in a wide variety of grades, #1, #2++, #2+, #2 and #3 (#1 is the best). We only carry #1 and #2++ both are excellent fish for sushi and sashimi. The number 1 is better, but the number 2 is pretty amazing on it's own. The average sushi restaurant buys #3; there's nothing wrong with it - it's perfectly fine - but it's not stunning. Cheese & Crackers only sells the best so we sell #1 and #2++.
We routinely sell both Yellowfin (also called Ahi), Big Eye (yes - this one is also Ahi) and Bluefin Tuna (including both Northern and Japanese Bluefin). Upon request we can get toro (including o-toro and chu-toro). Toro is tuna from the fatty belly of the tuna, o-toro and chu-toro are higher grades containing a greater fat content than the average cut of Toro. Unless you specify Toro, all Tuna ordered will be cut from the loin. (Toro is much higher in price, as there is only a very small amount per fish and it is in very high demand).
In 2013 when we started bringing sushi grade tuna into central illinois we were the only fishmarket south of I80 to carry #1 or #2 tuna. As far as we know we are still the only fish market to do so.
Now it gets confusing, the US Government (specifically the FDA) has no rules, requirements, guidelines or suggestions on labeling any fish as either sushi or sashimi grade.
FDA rule part 6 does recommend that most fish to be eaten raw be frozen prior to eating. The FDA does exempt some fish (particular types of tuna, salmon, etc...) from this recommendation - but in general most fish is recommended to be frozen for a minimum of 7 days. Some Aquacultured fish are exempt from this recommendation because their diet can be controlled.
Most public health departments advise against eating anything raw, especially fish.
So when you see fish labeled "sushi grade" and/or "sashimi grade" what does that mean? It means that the person who is selling it believes it to be of a quaility to be tasty eaten raw and of a freshness sufficient to be eaten raw. You need to trust that your fishmonger knows what they are doing, knows where the fish came from, how old it is, how it was handeled in transit to understand why they believe it to be a sushi or sashimi grade fish.
We know our fish, for the past 3 years we have built our reputation by selling the finest sushi grade grade in central Illinois. When you buy from Cheese & Crackers you are guaranteed of the quality and freshness of your fish.
Tuna is best to eat it in its most simplest form. Wasabi, and soy sauce is the best match. No special touches are required. It is usually ordered after the lighter white fishes, and before the richer ingredients such as Spanish mackerel, tuna belly, sea urchin, and salmon roe. The old zuke method, where the sliced sashimi is soaked in soy sauce for a short period of time, is a popular choice. This was done in the old days to prevent the tuna from spoiling too quickly, but it concentrates the flavors in the tuna flesh due to water loss by osmosis. Tuna is also popular for the tekka maki (flaming steel roll), the most basic Edo Style roll.
Ahi - This refers properly to both Big Eye Tuna as well as Yellowtail Tuna. Ahi is the Hawaiian word for both fish. There are differences between the two, Yellowtail is generally slightly higher in price but also much more widely avaliable.
Tuna is the most basic Edo style sushi. It is one of the oldest ingredients used, and often regarded as the icon of sushi.
The tuna has a simple, but robust taste. It has almost no fat, and has a firm flesh. The blue fin tuna orhonmaguro (true tuna), nicknamed the “black diamond” (for its shiny cobalt skin), is considered the best match for Edo style sushi, and is appreciated much more than the yellow fin or ahi tuna. The yellow fin lives in the warm currents and its flesh is bland, due to high water content, and soft compared to the blue fin which lives in the cold currents. The yellow fin tuna has little or no fatty section as well. This is a characteristic of fish that dwell in warm waters. The blue fin tuna has a firm flesh, the best tuna belly section, and has a deeper red color compared to the bright ruby tone of the yellow tail.
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