Salmon, Yellowtail, and Toro Jalapeño Sashimi

Are you looking for an elegant, elevated, healthy showstopping appetizer that takes 15 minutes or less? This Salmon, Yellowtail, and Toro Jalapeño Sashimi recipe should top your list! This appetizer is an impressive and showstopping prelude to any meal. The most critical element in this recipe is finding sashimi-grade, excellent quality fish! The raw fish is served with thinly sliced jalapeños to add a bit of a kick, and the sauce takes seconds to make. The fish is enhanced with soy sauce, sesame oil, and lemon for brightness with a chili oil drizzle and a sprinkling of cilantro leaves. If you love the taste of raw and buttery fish, then this simple Japanese-inspired recipe is for you:)
salmon garnished with jalapeno and cliantro

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What is sashimi?

Sashimi is sliced raw fish that is common in Japan. Often, it is served with an accompanying sauce or soy sauce.

What is sashimi grade fish?

Sashimi grade simply means that the fish has been given the stamp of approval to be eaten raw. When seafood mongers break down fish, it is assessed and given various rankings before being sold to purveyors. This is how the quality and the price of the fish are determined. This ranking system is quite detailed but can be broken down into the following assessments: 

  1. Initial appearance
  2. Size and shape
  3. Color
  4. Texture
  5. Fat content

All raw fish undergo these assessments before landing at your local seafood market. Make friends with your local seafood purveyor to score the freshest and highest quality fish! 

What is the difference between sashimi and sushi?

The Japanese word sashimi encompasses raw fish (sometimes raw, thinly sliced vegetables or meat can be seen on menus as sashimi). Sushi also hails from Japan and means prepared (cooked with a combination of salt, sugar, and vinegar) sushi rice, often served with fish, meat, or vegetables.

Why I chose to create this Salmon, Yellowtail, and Toro Jalapeño Sashimi recipe.

This dish is a derivation of a beloved and cult classic version of Chef and restaurateur Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa’s Yellowtail Sashimi Jalapeño cold traditional appetizers. This dish is served at most Nobu’s and Matsihisa’s worldwide. I wanted to create my version of the dish by adding toro and salmon sashimi and creating a more heat-induced spiked version of a ponzu sauce.

What is salmon sashimi?

  • Many different types and cuts of salmon are sold in the US as being “sushi-grade.” 
  • It is not recommended to determine this on your own. 
  • It is best to consult a notable fish or seafood market, and as listed above, make sure the salmon cut you are buying is sushi-grade. 

What is yellowtail?

  • Yellowtail is confusing because it can be labeled under tuna, sole, and flounder. 
  • However, it is most widely known as being in the Amberjack family, which is very similar to tuna. 
  • It is often mistaken for being in the tuna family but actually in the “Jack” family. 
  • It’s a member of fish called Amberjack. 
  • The Amberjack farmed and caught in Japan, and seen throughout the US in restaurants, is referred to as Hamachi. 
  • It’s a large fish with a yellowish stripe and a yellow tail on the side of its body. 
  • The meat ranges from white to pale pink, is firm, and has an excellent marbling of fat to meat ratio. 

What is Toro?

  • Toro is a specific cut of meat coming from tuna. 
  • This cut is usually a pale red and fatty coming from the center underbelly of the fish.
  • The Japanese word toro comes from the “melt in your mouth” texture of the meat called ‘toro-ri.’ 
  • Most often in Japan, toro comes from the Bluefin variety of tuna.
  • There is a wide variety of “toro’ including:
    • Akami: 
      • This is the most common kind of toro that is usually more vibrant red, not as fatty, leaner, the least expensive, and comes from the portion of the belly near the tail.
      • ‘Aka’ in Japanese means red. 
    • Chūtoro: 
      • This is the middle range of toro.
      • ‘Chūu’ means middle in Japanese. 
      • This cut is less red, is a mixture of meat and fat, and is located closer to the middle belly of the fish but still next to the tail. 
    • Otoro: 
      • This is the most expensive cut of toro. It is quite pale, has a rich marbling of fat and meat, and is located in the direct underbelly of the tuna. 
      • This toro is usually labeled as “extra fatty,” which is the richest part of the tuna with that buttery soft “melt in your mouth” texture. 

Here’s how to make this Salmon, Yellowtail, and Toro Jalapeño Sashimi recipe

Salmon, Yellowtail, and Toro Sashimi on a white plate surrounded by cilantro, lemon halves, sesam oil, soy sauce, chili oil ,and jalapeno slices

Salmon, Yellowtail, and Toro Jalapeño Sashimi Ingredients 

Sashimi Grade Salmon, Yellowtail, and Toro: As stated above, it’s super important to buy premium quality- sushi-grade fish from a reputable source. The main focus of this recipe is the fish, so you don’t want to sacrifice flavor and safety by using a lower-grade product. 

Soy Sauce: I always use low-sodium soy sauce to be healthier. Tamari is also fantastic! However, any soy sauce will work for this recipe. 

Lemon Juice: The lemon works as a brightening agent, helping to cut through the raw fish’s density. The acidity adds a lovely acidic note that pairs wonderfully with the rich soy sauce and sesame oil. 

Sesame Oil: Always buy a toasted sesame oil with a dark brown color for a richer, nuttier flavor. This oil beautifully coats the raw fish giving it a smooth silkiness. 

Jalapeño: When slicing the jalapeño, remove all the seeds. The seeds are the hottest part of the pepper. You can either use a knife to achieve paper-thin slices or a mandolin. I love using my Japanese mandolin, but a knife will work just as well. Take your time to achieve thin slices, so the pepper can almost “melt” into the raw fish for that sharp bite!

Cilantro: The minced cilantro adds a lovely freshness and herbaceous quality to the sashimi that lifts through the raw fish’s heaviness. 

Chili OilI like to finish this dish with a bit of chili oil because it adds a beautiful color and a different heat note than the jalapeño. It also adds another element of silkiness because it is an oil. This is entirely optional. 

Needed Equipment 

Cutting board

Sushi knife

Set of Stainless Steel or Glass Mixing Bowls

Whisk

Mandolin

Spoon

Presentation Plate

Process: 

  1. Place the raw fish on a cutting board. 
pieces of Salmon, yellowtail, and Toro on a wooden cutting board
  1. Starting with the salmon, place it in the center of the cutting board, close to your body. Place it on the board laterally, so what would be the spine of the body is facing east to west. When you start to slice, you want your knife to be perpendicular to the grain of the fish.
woman slicing Salmon
  1. Slice the salmon by starting with the knife slightly angled, insert the heel of the blade at a slight angle into the fish, then move your hand down and towards your body (make sure you hold the fish firmly with the other hand) creating one fluid slicing movement from the heel to the tip of the knife. Try to cut each slice of the fish with one single stroke.
Woman cutting toro with sliced salmon beside
  1. Repeat this process until all the salmon, yellowtail, and toro are sliced. Reserve.
sliced raw sashimi on a white plate
  1. Pour the soy sauce into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Soy sauce being added to a glass bowl
  1. Add the lemon juice and sesame oil and whisk to combine. 
lemon juice being added to soy sauce in a glass bowl with a whisk
oil being added to soy sauce being ready to be whisked
  1. Clean your cutting board and use your knife or a mandolin to make paper-thin round slices of the jalapeño (make sure to remove all the seeds from your rounds).
jalapeno being sliced on a mandolin
  1. Arrange all three sliced fish by shingling the slices (one piece overlapping and touching the next) on a serving plate.
sliced salmon, yellow tail, and toro on a white plate waiting to be plated on a blue decorate plate
person plating sashimi on a blue plate
  1. Pour the sauce over the fish, and top with the jalapeño slices and a few cilantro sprigs. 
Soy sauce being drizzled on sashimi fish on a blue plate
  1. Drizzle chili oil over the top if desired and eat immediately. 
A hand placing Cilantro and jalapenos on Sashimi on a blue plate

Tips and tricks for success

  • Make sure to buy the highest-quality sashimi-grade fish from a reputable source.
  • Have a long and thin extra-sharp sushi knife for slicing.
  • When slicing the fish, keep it close to your body. 
  • You always want to cut ‘across the grain,’ meaning you want to make cuts perpendicular to the fish’s spine. This will keep the fish slices from falling apart and becoming stringy. 
  • Starting with the knife slightly angled, insert the heel of the blade at a slight angle into the fish, then move your hand down and towards your body (make sure you hold the fish firmly with the other hand), creating one fluid slicing movement from the heel to the tip of the knife. Try to cut each slice of the fish with one single stroke.
  • When slicing the jalapeño, make sure to remove all the seeds. The seeds are the hottest part of the pepper. You can either use a knife to achieve paper-thin slices or a mandolin.

FAQS

Is Salmon, Yellowtail, and Toro Jalapeño Sashimi healthy for you?

Yes, eating raw fish is extraordinarily healthy for you! Fish contains significant vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and protein. Fish is a wonderful source of protein that is low in calories but also rich and substantial. All three fish are packed with omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fats) and vitamin B12. The omega-3 fatty acids help aid brain function, decrease inflammation, reduce blood pressure, and promote healthy skin, hair, and nails. Vitamin B12 enables you to form new healthy red blood cells, helps to create DNA, and supports the nervous system. All three fish also contain a high amount of selenium which helps aid in DNA synthesis, hormone stabilization, and reproductive health. Because you are eating this fish raw, you are eating the total amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. When food is cooked, these nutrients become depleted. 

How to cut and slice Salmon, Yellowtail, and Toro Jalapeño Sashimi

When making sashimi slices, you can make them slightly thicker. You always want to slice ‘across the grain,’ meaning you want to make cuts perpendicular to the fish’s spine. You want to make sure you have an extra sharp knife and make one fluid cut from the knife’s heel to the tip (this will help preserve the integrity of the fish).

What do Salmon, Yellowtail, and Toro Jalapeño Sashimi taste like?

Sashimi-grade fish is quite expensive, and as the sashimi-grade process is explained above, there is a wide range of prices, depending on quality. Generally, the more expensive the fish, the fattier and more buttery the taste. High-quality toro, salmon, and yellowtail have an amazingly rich and succulent flavor. For me, Toro is the richest, salmon the most buttery, and yellowtail has a slightly fruity, soft, and lighter taste. 

Where to buy sashimi?

A notable fish or seafood market is the best place to buy sashimi-grade fish. You want to trust the quality and expertise of the seller, mainly because you are eating the fish raw. 

Can Salmon, Yellowtail, and Toro Sashimi be frozen?

Yes, purveyors often freeze the fish before it is sold. In doing this, any chance of harmful bacteria or microorganisms is destroyed in the freezing process. However, freezing does slightly weaken the flavor and texture of the fish. If you want to be extra- careful when preparing this dish at home, freezing the fish beforehand can be done. However, I have never done this. I always buy my fish from a reputable source and want to preserve the full flavor of the fish. 

Can you make this dish ahead of time?

I do not recommend making this fish in advance. Raw fish is delicate and expensive and should be eaten on the purchase or one day after. I do not recommend eating raw fish two days past purchase unless you intend to freeze it. 

How long does this dish last in your refrigerator?

Like above, I recommend eating the fish the day of purchase or the day after. Discard the fish if it has been in your refrigerator four to five days after purchase. 

Variations

  • Soy Allergy: You can use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. 
  • Gluten Allergy: Most soy sauces contain wheat and are not gluten-free. However, you can use tamari, which is made with 100% soybeans. Some miso pastes contain barley, which is not gluten-free. 
  • Seed Allergy: You could use a neutral-based oil instead of the sesame oil. 
  • Spice: You can use any chili oil or spice you might have in your panty, This chili crisp or Japanese togarashi are my favorites 

Suggested Meal Pairings

overhead shot of sashimi salmon with cilantro, jalapeno and chili oil in the background
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Jalapeño Sashimi Trio

This incredibly easy sashimi dish is an absolutely heavenly way to start any meal! Sashimi-grade salmon, yellowtail, and toro are thinly sliced and drizzled with soy, sesame, and lemon sauce with a hint of chili oil. The layered fish is dotted with paper-thin slices of raw jalapeño and garnished with cilantro sprigs for freshness. The dish takes under 10 minutes to make but will be remembered for hours! Source your highest quality sashimi-grade fish from your local seafood purveyor, and you are good to go.
Prep Time 6 mins
Total Time 6 mins
Course Appetizers
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 2 people
Calories 191 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Cutting board
  • 1 Sushi Knife
  • 1 Set of Stainless Steel or Glass Mixing Bowls
  • 1 Whisk
  • 1 Mandolin
  • 1 Spoon
  • 1 Presentation Plate

Ingredients
  

Sashimi Trio

  • 3 oz sashimi-grade salmon
  • 2 oz sashimi-grade yellowtail
  • 1.5 oz sashimi-grade toro
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ jalapeño, sliced into paper-thin rounds
  • 2 tbsp cilantro sprigs for garnish
  • Chili oil for garnish

Instructions
 

Sashimi Trio

  • Slice the salmon, yellowtail, and toro across the grain into thin strips and layer them on a plate. Reserve.
  • Whisk together the soy sauce and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle in the sesame oil while continuing to whisk. Reserve.
  • Take the plate of cut fish and shingle them on a platter or plate, starting first 4-5 pieces of each fish, starting with the salmon, then yellowtail, and toro, and repeat. You can make one large platter or two shingled plates.
  • Drizzle the sauce over the fish and dot the fish with the thinly sliced jalapeño and cilantro sprigs.
  • Add a few droplets of chili oil if desired. 

Notes

  • Make sure to buy the highest-quality sashimi-grade fish from a reputable source.
  • Have a long and thin extra-sharp sushi knife for slicing.
  • When slicing the fish, keep it close to your body. 
  • You always want to cut ‘across the grain,’ meaning you want to make cuts perpendicular to the fish’s spine. This will keep the fish slices from falling apart and becoming stringy. 
  • Starting with the knife slightly angled, insert the heel of the blade at a slight angle into the fish, then move your hand down and towards your body (make sure you hold the fish firmly with the other hand), creating one fluid slicing movement from the heel to the tip of the knife. Try to cut each slice of the fish with one single stroke.
  • When slicing the jalapeño, make sure to remove all the seeds. The seeds are the hottest part of the pepper. You can either use a knife to achieve paper-thin slices or a mandolin.

Nutrition

Calories: 191kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 20gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 1551mgPotassium: 442mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 422IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Jalapeno Sashimi, Japanese salmon recipe, Sashimi recipe
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About Sarah
Sarah blair

Adding a generous dose of enthusiasm, excitement, and creativity to the culinary world, Sarah began her career at the French Culinary Institute in NYC. Sarah has worked for the past decade as a Culinary Producer and Food Stylist.

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