There is no appetizer more elegant on a warm day than a cold plate of Hamachi Crudo. Thin slices of yellowtail fillet (yellowtail sashimi) are served with our easy citrus and soy ginger marinade, then topped with a few garnishes to take the presentation and flavor over the top. It’s naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and totally delicious.
What Is Hamachi Crudo?
We love all varieties of seafood, including (especially!) raw preparations such as tartare and poke bowls, but crudo is different than either of these. Translating from both Italian and Spanish to mean “raw,” a seafood crudo is typically thin slices of fish or shellfish — such as salmon, tuna, or even Scallop Crudo! — that are arranged at an angle on a plate, then dressed with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or other marinade and served uncooked.
While you can make a meat crudo, we’re focusing today on silky, buttery yellowtail.
The marinade is completely customizable, but often features citrus. Our recipe has a decidedly Japanese flavor from the soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil. We hope you give our hamachi crudo a try — it’s easy, elegant, and a perfect start to any meal!
- Sushi-grade yellowtail fillet: It’s really important to use sushi-grade fish when eating seafood raw.
- Lime juice: You’ll need 1-2 limes juiced
- Rice wine vinegar: An acidic vinegar made from fermented rice. Don’t substitute with mirin, as that has sugar and will make the crudo too sweet.
- Low-sodium soy sauce: Really important to control the salt content of the dish. Always reach for low-sodium so you can adjust salt levels yourself!
- Sesame oil: For that nutty sesame taste that adds richness and depth of flavor to the marinade.
- Ginger paste: Or fresh ginger root, peeled and grated. The best flavor!
- Flaky sea salt: To season the yellowtail and marinade.
- Optional garnishes: thinly slices radishes, thinly sliced jalapeño, serrano pepper, or other small chili, black and white sesame seeds, and lots of fresh cilantro (this last one is mandatory for me!). If you don’t want to use peppers, wasabi is perfect with any crudo!
Equipment: for any crudo recipe (salmon, tuna, scallop, etc.) you want to make sure to have a very sharp knife. Makes all the difference when slicing!
Crudo vs Sushi vs Sashimi
- Crudo: Thin slices of raw fish or meat arranged in a single layer on a plate and dressed with a citrus and oil marinade. Garnishes welcome!
- Sushi: Thinly sliced seafood served over a molded piece of seasoned sushi rice, sometimes with garnishes and sauces, sometimes not.
- Sashimi: This is a type of sushi, consisting of thinly sliced fish often enjoyed with soy sauce, but without rice.
Other raw preparations of seafood worth noting
- Tartare: Tartare can be made with seafood or meat. It involves mixing ground or finely chopped tuna, for instance, with a sauce, then serving. Consider trying our easy Tuna Tartare Recipe next!
- Carpaccio: Thinly sliced or pounded thin meat or fish served raw, often with a drizzle of oil.
- Ceviche: With origins in both Peru and Mexico, ceviche features cubes of raw fish or shellfish marinated in fresh lime juice or leche de tigre (a combination of fish stock, cilantro, chiles, lime juice, and red onion). Enjoy with tortilla chips or even rice crackers! Try our Salmon Ceviche or Shrimp Ceviche!
- Tiradito: Peruvian in origin, tiradito features very thin slices of raw fish (similar to a carpaccio) that are laid flat on a plate and dressed before serving.
- Aguachile: This is a Mexican seafood salad often made with shellfish (eg, shrimp or scallops) that is spicy and citrusy. The 3 traditional types of aguachile are rojo, negro, and verde. It’s closest relative is ceviche, which is typically made with less heat.
How To Make Hamachi Crudo
- Slice! Make sure the yellowtail fillet is very cold — this makes it easier to slice. You can even pop it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to help it firm up a bit! When ready, slice into pieces about ¼-½ inch thick.
- Arrange the sliced yellowtail in a fanned out circle on a plate.
- Make the marinade by whisking all marinade ingredients together in a bowl or measuring cup, then pour the sauce on top.
- Garnish! Season the fish with flaky sea salt, then garnish with sesame seeds, sliced jalapeño pepper, fresh cilantro, and thinly sliced radish. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Lime juice: Yuzu juice adds another element of flavor that is citrusy and slightly less tart than lime juice. Available at HMart, other Asian markets, or online.
- Chilis: Serrano peppers and jalapeños are a good option that are available most places. However, for serious heat lovers, use a thinly sliced Thai red chili (also called a birds eye chili) — they are hotttt.
- Cilantro: The cilantro haters out there might like shiso leaves (Japanese purple basil), which are delicious, bright, and fragrant. We grow our own, but you can find it at almost any Asian market.
- Yellowtail: Yes, you can even change out the fish! This would be delicious with sliced tuna, salmon, scallop, red snapper, striped bass, or fluke.
We buy from HMart and Wegmans, but it is also available at many other Asian markets (Mitsuwa in NJ is phenomenal), as well as from seafood markets.
In short, yes! You want to make sure that the seafood you plan to eat raw is fresh (or was flash frozen, which is required by the FDA for all raw seafood) and was properly stored before you brought it home. Buying sushi-grade seafood is the best, safest option.
You can ask the fish monger, but sometimes depending on the store, it will be labeled as such. For instance, at HMart (a popular Korean market) and Wegmans, they label their fish sushi-grade.
Raw seafood should be enjoyed within 1 day of purchasing. Do not eat leftovers more than 24 hours old.
Yes! Hamachi is a lean fish with very little fat and that is in this protein. It’s also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. One of the reasons we absolutely love seafood!
Make It A Complete Meal
We love to serve crudo as an appetizer to a Japanese-inspired meal.
Other Asian-Inspired Menu Ideas10-Minute Spicy Kani Salad (Foolproof!) 30-Minute Crispy Asian Brussels Sprouts This Broiled Miso Salmon Cooks In 8 Minutes Or Less! Juicy Baked Chicken Teriyaki with Sweet Onions Tender & Juicy Beef Negimaki (Beef & Scallion Roll) 30-Minute Miso Marinated Steak Tips Better-Than-Takeout Spicy Ramen Noodles 15-Minute Blistered Shishito Peppers with Garlic
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Buttery Hamachi Crudo with Soy Ginger Marinade
- 1 lb sushi-grade yellowtail fillet
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice about 1-2 limes, 1 tsp lime zest reserved
- 3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp ginger paste or ½-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- Flaky sea salt
- Cilantro for serving
- Garnishes: thinly sliced jalapeño or serrano pepper, thinly sliced radish, black or white sesame seeds
- Slice the hamachi. Using a very sharp knife, slice the yellowtail into strips about ¼” thick. Arrange the slices on a plate however you like, just make sure they’re in a single layer.
- Make the marinade. Combine ¼ cup lime juice, 3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, and 2 tsp ginger paste in a small bowl. Whisk well, then set aside.
- Finish, then serve. Pour the marinade over the top of the hamachi slices, then season everything with a generous pinch of flaky sea salt. Garnish with thinly sliced radish, jalapeño slices, sesame seeds, and lots of fresh cilantro. Serve immediately!
- Crudo of any kind is best enjoyed the day you bring home the fish. While leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in a fridge for up to 24 hours, we recommend eating this the same day it’s prepared.
- Yellowtail can be substituted with raw, sushi-grade tuna, salmon, scallops, striped bass, fluke, or other sushi-grade fish.
- Lime juice: Try yuzu or ponzo sauce instead!
- Cilantro: shiso leaves (Japanese purple basil) are great if you don’t like cilantro!
- Chilis: For serious heat lovers, use a thinly sliced Thai red chili (also called a birds eye chili) — they are hotttt.