Removing the Nerves from a Live Fish

From the moment a fish is caught to when it is prepared in a kitchen, keeping the fish fresh is of critical importance. This is especially necessary when it comes to sushi and many Japanese dishes where fish is served raw. In Japan, chefs and fishermen utilize a special preparation technique where they drain the blood of fish in seawater and remove its nerves while it is still alive. In this way, the meat of the fish can kept fresh for significantly longer period of time than if it were prepared normally. Fish prepared this way can be enjoyed raw up to a week later and will still taste like they were fresh from the ocean! This also helps enhance the taste and freshness of the fish when it is eaten immediately as well! Master sushi chef, Takeshi Suda recently demonstrated this technique to an international delegation of chefs from around the world and even taught one of the chefs how to do it themselves. The first step in this process was to cut the spine and main arteries of the fish. It was then placed in seawater for a few minutes to drain most of its blood. The fish was then brought out of the water and had a wire run through its spine to remove the primary nervous system of the fish. Keep in mind that the fish was still alive during these processes! The combination of these two techniques significantly slows the degradation process of the fish and after this the fish was ready to be prepared. Marin Vera, a decorated chef from Italy also tried his hand at this preparation and was able to successfully remove the nerves. He then learned how to prepare sashimi with Takeshi Suda. This fish was then enjoyed as fresh sashimi in a wonderful group dinner in the restaurant at the Kamo Aquarium with the delegation of international culinary professionals and locals of Tsuruoka City. And just as this technique had promised, the fish had incredibly rich flavors and a texture of freshness to it that I had never tasted before! This is just one of the many ingenious food preparation techniques utilized in the Tsurupoka UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. Learn more about this here.

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