Not only fish, but many foods can be eaten as sashimi: Beef, chicken sasami (tenderloin strip of breast), and even fresh sliced vegetables such as daikon or turnip are lovely raw, thinly sliced, and dipped in soy sauce or ponzu. I crave raw foods, so am naturally drawn to sashimi-style foods. Searing beef tenderloins over a straw fire renders the meat pleasantly cinched up on the surface but virtually raw inside, thus it is imperative to ask the butcher if the meat can be eaten as beef sashimi (gyu sashi). In Japan, the concept of eating raw fish or meat is deeply embedded in how the producers or fisherman treat their meat and fish, therefore many varieties are safe to eat raw. And fishmongers or butchers know their stuff, so you can rely on their expertise.
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**Note: As an alternative, sear directly in a hot stove flame or red-hot charcoal grill.
- 1 Pound top-quality, grass-fed sirloin tenderloin
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1 Cup country-style ponzu*
- 1 Tablespoon wasabi, preferably freshly grated, for garnish
- Zest of 1/2 yuzu, sudachi , or Meyer lemon, for garnish
- 1 small fresh chile pepper, sliced into thin rings, for garnish (optional)
- 1/2 yuzu, sudachi, or Meyer lemon, for garnish
Set the tenderloin on a cutting board or dinner plate and salt lightly on all sides from about 1 foot above the meat.
Run five 1 ½-foot metal skewers through each fillet laterally, keeping the handles all at the same place with the tips radiating out like an open fan.
Prepare an ice bath. Heap straw in a charcoal grill and light it or build a roaring fire. Carefully hold the skewered fillet directly in the flames, rotating until the surface sizzles and all sides are seared. (This operation becomes quite difficult if there is any breeze.)**
Plunge the fillet into the ice bath to cool. Remove from the water, pat dry, and wrap in a clean kitchen towel before refrigerating for 1-2 hours (or 30 minutes in the freezer).
When ready to eat, slice crosswise into 1/8-inch pieces and fan out overlapping slices on an attractive plate.
Dab wasabi on the side of the plate and garnish with a scattering of citrus zest and chile, if using. Set the ½ piece of citrus in the middle of the "sashimi flower." Splash a little ponzu into individual small soy sauce plates for each person. To eat: Catch a speck of wasabi with your chopsticks and scrape onto a single piece of meat, dip in the sauce, and pop in your mouth.