Sashimi is a word used in Japan to designate the grading in fishes. I'm not certain, but it may be used for other food items such as in the beef industry in the U.S.
The grades are listed as Prime, Choice, Good, etc. and the Sashimi grade would be the Prime grade. The fish is graded on fat content, color, and freshness. In the U.S. grading of tuna, we use numbers; #1, #2, #3. The grading is a subjective issue. One person may give a fish a #2 grade and another may say it is a #1 fish.
Eye appeal is one of the biggest factors in grading. In a blind taste test, one would most likely not be able to tell #1 tuna from a #3 tuna if both were seasoned and cooked the same. A bright red #1 or Sashimi Tuna has a good eye appeal for most sashimi applications.
Sashimi is thinly sliced, raw seafood. Many different kinds of fish (and other types of seafood) are served raw in the Japanese cuisine. Of course, the fish has to be as fresh as possible. Sashimi can be eaten just as sashimi or as nigiri zushi, in which case the sashimi piece is put on top of a small ball of sushi rice.
Sashimi pieces are dipped into soya sauce before they are eaten. Depending on the kind of sashimi, wasabi or ground ginger is usually mixed into the soya sauce.
Some of the most popular kinds of sashimi are:
- Maguro: Tuna
- Toro: Fatty Tuna
- Ebi: Prawn
- Saba: Mackerel
- Ika: Squid
- Tako: Octopus