Cultures that are closely tied to the sea have long known how to work with raw seafood and make it a part of their regular diet. While eating raw seafood always comes with some health risks, many restaurants are being inspired to try different raw seafood dishes in their kitchens.
Looking for some inspiration? Here are three of my favorites from very different parts of the world. Some are cured, some are straight up raw, all are super delicious.
Gravlax is a cured salmon dish from Scandinavia. Originally made by fishermen during the Middle Ages, gravlax is traditionally served with dill for flavor. It’s pretty easy and foolproof to make, yet very few make it at home, which makes it a fun choice for an appetizer dish.
A dish traditionally found in Latin America. At its most basic, ceviche is made from raw fish that has been cured in citrus juices such as lemon or lime, and then seasoned with peppers, chopped onions or cilantro. Throughout Central and South America, the preparations can vary widely from country to country, or even town to town. Peru, which many argue is the birthplace of ceviche on the continent, has declared ceviche part of its national heritage and even has a holiday in its honor.
Poke is a dish found absolutely everywhere in Hawaii from every grocery store, to convenience stores, to high end restaurants. Poke is an important dish in Hawaiian food culture and plays an important role in Hawaiian history.
Poke is generally made from cubed raw fish and seasoned in various ways, usually with soy sauce, sesame oil and furikake. Poke is eaten as is, or over rice in a way that could be described as a deconstructed sushi. Personally, I think the best way to eat poke is in Hawaii with a mai tai.
So, about those health risks…
How do you make sure you’re not going to get sick from eating raw fish? Here are a couple of tips for eating or cooking with raw seafood.
- The safest raw fish has been frozen to kill off any parasites.
- Always buy from a trusted fishmonger.
- Be sure the fish you’re buying is well refrigerated and packed in ice, and does not have an overly fishy odor.
- Keep fish in air-tight containers in your fridge and use within 2 days.
What are some of your favorite raw seafood dishes from around the world?