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Ken Tominaga’s Tuna & Salmon Sashimi

Related Ingredients

Tasting Notes

A lot of people begin to eat sushi because they like the saltiness of the soy sauce and the sweet, vinegared starchiness of the rice.

However, many eaters fall in love with sushi all over again when they begin to understand and appreciate the flavor and texture of raw fish by itself. As you begin to prepare sashimi, taste each fish before adding anything to it. This will help you get used to the taste of raw fish and distinguish between each fish’s unique and nuanced flavor. You’ll find that salmon is fatty and rich while tuna is clean and lean. A delicate brush of soy sauce brings out the flavor of the fish without overpowering it.

Tips & Techniques

  1. Measure with your fingers. Before you begin slicing, get a sense of how big the pieces should be. Think 4 fingers wide for nigiri and 3 for sashimi.
  2. Sharpen up. Before you begin your sushi-making endeavor, you may want to get your knife sharpened. To ensure sharpness in every cut, wipe your knife with a damp towel before each slice.
  3. Different strokes. Avoid a back-and-forth sawing motion here. It’s better to use long strokes to make clean cuts through the raw fish.
  4. Slice as you go. For maximum freshness, play the part of the sushi chef and slice the fish just before you serve it to your guests. You shouldn’t cut the fish in advance and put it back in the fridge.


These tools are the ones we find especially helpful when making this dish.

  1. Yanagi. This long knife with a very thin blade is used for slicing raw fish in the Japanese kitchen. It allows sushi chefs to cut cleanly through sushi and sashimi with very little force.

The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.

  • Yanagi knife & plastic cutting board
  • Medium-sized baking sheet
  • Plates or sheet pan
  • Large bowl
  • Scissors
  • Spoon

  • 1 (5 ounce)* piece of a sushi-grade salmon belly, skin on
  • 1 (5 ounce)* piece of sushi-grade tuna loin
  • 1 (5 ounce) piece of sushi-grade tuna belly

*Note: Ask your fishmonger for a portion that is approximately 1 ½” x 3” x 4” in size. At this point you can start with shorter side and slice for sashimi or start on the longer side and slice for nigiri.

Serves: 4

Total Time: 3 days

Active Time: 30 minutes


To prepare the salmon:

  1. Wrap the salmon in plastic and freeze for 48 hours. Transfer to the refrigerator and defrost slowly overnight. (This will kill any parasites without damaging the fish.) Before you are ready to prepare the sashimi, pull the frozen salmon out of the freezer and let it defrost slowly in the refrigerator over the period of a day. Make sure to dry salmon very well once defrosted.
  2. Lay the fish skin side down on a cutting board. Holding a long, sharp slicing knife parallel to the cutting board, remove the skin from the fish by using long strokes to slice just between the skin and the flesh from one end of the piece to the other. The final piece of fish should be 3-fingers wide. If the piece of fish is very narrow, slice it on a greater bias to achieve a 3-finger wide slice.
  3. Using the same long strokes, cut ¼ inch slices across the grain. Serve immediately.

To prepare the tuna loin for sashimi & nigiri:

  1. If you did not have your fishmonger cut your piece of fish, you will have to cut it into smaller shapes before slicing the fish. Cut the loin into “4-finger” width by “2-finger” width pieces for nigiri, or “3-finger” width by “2-finger” width pieces for sashimi, which should yield a 1 1/2″ x 3” x 4” size piece.
  2. Once you have those pieces, slice each one across the grain into ¼ inch slices, using long strokes.

To prepare the tuna belly for the spicy tuna roll:

  1. For any piece of tuna that is heavy in sinew, remove the sinew using a spoon. Holding the spoon downwards towards the cutting board, scrape the flesh of the tuna from the sinew, using the other hand to hold the sinew down. Once all of the tuna has been scraped from the sinew, discard the sinew.
  2. Collect the scraped tuna in a bowl and mix with spicy mayo for a spicy tuna roll. (See spicy tuna roll recipe.)

Here is a great way to turn this dish into a meal

Tuna & salmon ceviche

Cut the fish into 1/2 inch cubes and dress with lime juice, jalepeños, grapeseed oil and salt. Serve like ceviche with sliced avocado, tomatoes and cucumbers.