This simple Hamachi Crudo appetizer dresses buttery yellowtail in a bright soy and yuzu dressing before it’s finished with serrano peppers and lemon zest. Similar to sashimi, this Japanese delicacy is sure to impress at dinner parties.
Vibrant and rich flavors are put right on display in this Hamachi Crudo recipe. It’s a simple Japanese appetizer made from raw yellowtail fish, soy sauce, yuzu juice, and an array of colorful and spicy garnishes. Every bite is delicate, yet bursting with lively flavors!
Just like Poke Bowls, raw hamachi (A.K.A. Japanese yellowfish or amberjack) is put right on display in this colorful appetizer. The seasonings and garnishes really make every bite special, so feel free to get creative with your own additions! Sprinkle spicy peppers, fresh microgreens, or sliced watermelon radishes on top to really bring this Japanese recipe up a notch.
Still skeptical of eating raw fish? Don’t be! All sushi and sashimi-grade fish is frozen before it’s sold to kill any bacteria.
What is hamachi crudo?
Hamachi crudo is a delicate Japanese appetizer made from raw yellowtail or amberjack fish. Similar to sashimi, the fish is sliced thin and dressed in citrus juice and soy sauce. For an elegant presentation and a little more flavor, the plate is garnished with colorful, thinly sliced vegetables, spicy peppers, flaky salt, and sesame seeds or seasonings.
Crudo vs. sashimi
Japanese sashimi and crudo (meaning “raw”) are very similar. Both are appetizers served with thinly sliced raw sushi-grade fish that’s been drizzled with soy sauce or ponzu sauce and sometimes wasabi. You can serve both sashimi and crudo recipes with yellowtail, amberjack, tuna, bass, or salmon.
The main difference between the two is usually found in the presentation. According to the Dana Point Fishing Company, sashimi recipes make the fish the star of the show whereas crudo puts more of an effort into the presentation and garnishes.
What do you need to make hamachi crudo?
- Hamachi – Hamachi is Japanese for amberjack or yellowtail fish. The fish is kept raw and sliced thinly, just like sashimi. Ask your fishmonger for sashimi or sushi-grade fish when out shopping.
- Yuzu juice – This Japanese citrus juice is slightly less tart than lemon or lime juice with notes of orange and tangerine. You should be able to find it in grocery stores near the soy sauce, in Asian markets, or you can buy it online.
- Soy sauce – If you can, use white soy sauce (shiro) instead of regular soy sauce. It’s much milder in flavor and won’t overwhelm this delicate raw fish appetizer.
- Lemon zest – Used to dress the fish. Feel free to replace this with any kind of citrus zest instead.
- Serrano pepper – If a serrano is too spicy for you, use jalapeno or omit the pepper entirely.
- Garnish – The plate will need some color, which is where the garnish comes in! I used sesame seeds, raw red onion, and cilantro. Green onion, microgreens, radishes, or cucumber would also be delicious and fresh.
How to make hamachi crudo
Place the yellowtail in the freezer while you arrange the rest of the plate. This will make the fish easier to slice.
Thinly slice the yellowtail and arrange it on your serving plate.
Drizzle the fish with yuzu juice and soy sauce. Finish with a sprinkle of lemon zest, serrano peppers, and sea salt. Garnish the plate with sesame seeds, red onions, and cilantro if you like, then serve and enjoy!
Tips and substitutions
- Can’t find yuzu juice? Replace it with Meyer lemon juice or a bit of lime juice and orange juice combined.
- Slice the serranos and red onion into evenly sliced pieces for easy eating and a nice presentation.
- Dress the hamachi in a homemade ponzu sauce instead if you want.
- To make the appetizer a bit more substantial, add a smear of avocado or pea puree to the plate before adding the fish.
Yellowtail sashimi is best served as an appetizer before the meal and is perfect for getting your dinner guests excited for what’s to come. Follow it up with a vibrant menu:
- Blistered Shishito Peppers
- Din Tai Fung Cucumber Salad
- Sous Vide Salmon
- Thai Lettuce Wraps
- Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts
Wine pairings for hamachi:
- Yellowtail is best served with sweet and citrusy white wines, like a dry Chenin Blanc.
- For tradition’s sake, swap the wine for Saki instead!
If you loved this hamachi recipe I would appreciate it so much if you would give it a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
More seafood recipes:
More appetizers to try:
- 4 ounces sushi-grade yellowtail
- 2 Tablespoons yuzu juice (or lemon juice)
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- ½ serrano pepper (thinly sliced (optional))
- Flaky sea salt
- Sesame seeds
- Red onion (thinly sliced)
- Cilantro leaves
- Place yellowtail in freezer for 15-30 minutes. This makes it easier to slice thinly.
- Thinly slice and arrange on a plate.
- Drizzle with yuzu juice and soy sauce, then sprinkle with lemon zest, serrano and sea salt. Garnish, if desired, with sesame seeds, red onion and cilantro. Serve immediately.