What Type of Salmon is Used for Sushi? (Plus Alternatives)

What Type of Salmon is Used for Sushi? (Plus Alternatives)

The three types of salmon most used for sushi are sockeye, coho and Atlantic salmon.

The type of salmon commonly used for sushi is known as “sake” or “sake-sugi.” Sake is the name for salmon in Japan.

Types of Salmon Used for Sushi

When it comes to types of fish for sushi, the preferred salmon is typically the Pacific salmon species, specifically the “Oncorhynchus” genus. The most commonly used species for sushi include:

  1. Sockeye Salmon (Red Salmon): Sockeye salmon has deep red flesh and a rich, pronounced flavor. This Alaskan salmon is known for its firm texture and is often sought after for sushi due to its distinct taste.
  2. Coho Salmon: another Alaska salmon – coho salmon, also called silver salmon, has a milder flavor compared to sockeye. It has a softer texture and lighter, pinkish-orange flesh.
  3. Atlantic Salmon: While Pacific salmon species are more commonly used for sushi, farmed Atlantic salmon is occasionally used as well. Atlantic salmon has a mild flavor and a buttery texture, which some people enjoy in sushi preparations.

Is Sushi Salmon Regular Salmon?

The term “sushi salmon” is a general reference to salmon that is commonly used for sushi in sushi restaurants. It typically refers to salmon specifically prepared and handled for raw consumption in sushi dishes. However, not all types of salmon are suitable for raw consumption in sushi.

The salmon used for sushi is typically selected based on certain criteria, such as its freshness, quality, taste, and texture.

How Do You Know if Raw Salmon is Sushi-Grade?

Look for salmon labeled as “sushi-grade” or “sashimi-grade.” These terms indicate that the salmon has been handled and processed in a way that meets food safety standards for raw consumption.

What Do You Need to Do to Make Salmon Sushi-Grade?

Here are some considerations for choosing salmon for sushi:

  1. Freshness: Freshness is crucial when selecting salmon for sushi. Look for salmon with bright, vibrant flesh and a clean, mild scent. The flesh should be firm, and the fillets should be free from any discoloration or signs of spoilage.
  2. Species: Choose salmon species commonly used for sushi, including the sockeye, coho and Atlantic salmon.
  3. Origin: The country or region of origin can also determine the quality of the salmon. Certain regions are known for their premium salmon, such as Norway for Atlantic salmon.
  4. Trusted Sources: Purchase salmon from reputable fishmongers, seafood markets, or grocery stores that have a good reputation for selling high-quality seafood. 
Fresh raw salmon
Fresh raw salmon

Can You Use Grocery Store Salmon for Sushi?

Using grocery store salmon for sushi can be risky and is generally not recommended unless the salmon is specifically labeled as “sushi-grade” or “sashimi-grade.”

Is Wild Salmon Safe for Sushi?

Using wild-caught salmon for sushi can be just as good as using farmed salmon, provided it meets the necessary criteria for raw consumption.

There are different varieties of wild salmon, each with its own flavor profile. Common types used for sushi include chinook salmon (king salmon), sockeye, coho, and pink salmon.

It’s important to ensure that the wild salmon you purchase for sushi comes from a reputable source.

Freshness is crucial when using wild salmon for sushi. Look for salmon with bright, clear eyes, vibrant flesh, and a mild, oceanic smell.

Does Frozen Salmon Make Good Sushi?

Yes, frozen salmon can be used for making sushi. Freezing salmon is a common practice in the sushi industry to ensure food safety by reducing the risk of parasites.

What is the Best Way to Store Sushi-Grade Salmon?

The fresh fish should be flash-frozen at temperatures below -4°F (-20°C) for a specific period of time to ensure the parasites are killed. This freezing process helps maintain the quality of the fish by preserving its texture, flavor, and nutritional value.

Salmon sushi
Salmon sushi

7 Salmon Alternatives for Sushi

If you’re looking for alternatives to salmon in sushi, there are several options you can consider.

Here are a few popular alternatives:

  1. Tuna: Tuna is a widely used fish in sushi and sashimi. It has a robust flavor and a firm, meaty texture. Varieties of tuna commonly used in sushi include bluefin (maguro), yellowfin (ahi), and bigeye (hon-maguro).
  2. Yellowtail (Hamachi): Yellowtail has a buttery texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It is a great choice for both sushi and sashimi due to its delicate taste.
  3. Sea Bass (Suzuki): Sea bass, also known as suzuki or Japanese seabass, has a mild and slightly sweet flavor. It has a tender texture and is often enjoyed in sushi preparations.
  4. Snapper (Tai): Snapper is a versatile fish used in sushi. It has a delicate, slightly sweet flavor and a firm texture. Red snapper (madai) and Japanese snapper (tai) are commonly used in sushi.
  5. Shrimp (Ebi): Cooked shrimp, such as sweet shrimp (amaebi) or rock shrimp, can be used in sushi. They offer a sweet and succulent taste, providing a contrast to raw fish options.
  6. Crab: Different types of crab, such as snow crab or king crab, can be used in sushi. They offer a sweet and delicate flavor that pairs well with sushi rice.
  7. Vegetarian Options: For those who prefer vegetarian sushi, options like cucumber, avocado, pickled vegetables, tofu, or mushroom-based rolls can be delicious alternatives.

These are just a few alternatives to salmon in sushi. It’s always a good idea to consult with a sushi chef or knowledgeable fishmonger for recommendations based on your preferences and the freshest options available.

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