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Seafood 101: Crudo di Pesce aka Seafood Crudo (Basics of Italian Sashimi)

What is Crudo di Pesce?

Crudo di Pesce

Crudo di Pesce, or fish crudo, is an Italian classic and cornerstone of a traditional Mediterranean Diet, which highlights the pure, delicate flavors of raw fish paired with extra virgin olive oil, citrus and fresh herbs. As part of Seatopia's commitment to enriching your culinary journey, we bring you the first lesson in our Seafood 101 series: the art of crafting Crudo de Pesce at home. This is not only an appetizing dish but also a statement of simplicity and elegance. It's perfect for special occasions or as a unique, gourmet experience—any day of the week.

seafood crudo

Crudo vs. Sashimi vs. Ceviche: What's the Difference?
Each of these dishes primarily involves raw fish, but that’s where the similarities end. Unlike sashimi or ceviche, Crudo de Pesce is uniquely Italian, adorned with a simple dressing of high-quality extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed citrus juice. It's more about amplifying flavors than marinating or 'cooking' the fish through acidity, which is what happens in ceviche.

The Art of Flavor Balance in Crudo de Pesce: When preparing Crudo de Pesce, or any gourmet dish for that matter, achieving a harmonious balance of flavors is crucial. The five pillars of flavor—Fat, Heat, Salt, Citric, and Sweetness—offer a framework to understand this culinary art. By playing around with these elements, you can create a Crudo de Pesce masterpiece that's uniquely yours. Let’s delve into these principles.

1. Fat: The Richness Factor
In the context of Crudo de Pesce, the "fat" primarily comes from your choice of fish and the olive oil drizzle. Fatty fish like Seatopia's Steelhead Trout or Salmon offer a rich, buttery taste. A high-quality extra virgin olive oil not only contributes to this richness but also brings its own set of complex flavors.
Alternative Options: For a different fatty profile, consider avocado slices, avocado oil, or nut oils like walnut or almond oil. 

2. Heat: The Spicy Kick
While Crudo de Pesce is not traditionally spicy, a touch of heat can create a delightful contrast to the dish's coolness. You can add a sprinkling of red pepper flakes or thinly sliced jalapeños for that kick.
Alternative Options:  Pickled Fresno Chile, Yuzu Kosho, Wasabi, horseradish, or even a dash of spicy oil can add the needed heat. 
3. Salt: The Flavor Enhancer
Salt is essential for highlighting and intensifying flavors. When using a pristine, fresh product like Seatopia's seafood, a light touch of high-quality sea salt can make all the difference.

Alternative Options: Think beyond traditional salt; consider flaky sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, or even flavored salts like truffle salt for a gourmet twist.  Volcanic Black Salt is a personal favorite. But you can also get salt from picked capers, or other vegetal ingredients.

4. Citric: The Fresh Zing
Citrus adds that fresh, tangy zing that brightens up the dish. You have a plethora of options here—lemon, lime, grapefruit. Even the zest of these fruits can add a different dimension of citric flavor.

Alternative Options: If you're feeling adventurous, consider other sour elements like yuzu or tamarind.

5. Sweetness: The Counterbalance
Sweetness in Crudo is usually subtle, serving to counterbalance the richness of the fat and the tang of the citric elements. Thinly sliced fruits like strawberry, mango, apple, or peach can lend this touch. Experiment with less sweet underripe or fermented fruits as well if you don't want to over power the dish with sweetness.

Alternative Options: A light drizzle of a sweet reduction, such as balsamic glaze or pomegranate molasses, caramelized onions or fermented black garlic can work wonders with subtle sweetness.


The Art of Texture and Mouthfeel in Crudo de Pesce
Achieving the right texture and mouthfeel can elevate your Crudo de Pesce from good to unforgettable. Consider these elements to bring in that extra flair:

  1. Slicing Thickness: The thickness of your fish slices should be calibrated for a single bite. The objective is to provide a satisfying but not overwhelming mouthful that allows the consumer to appreciate the fish's inherent flavor and texture fully. 
  2. Olive Oil Balance: The olive oil should lightly coat the fish, creating a luxurious mouthfeel without overwhelming its natural flavors. The oil acts as a medium to carry flavors and create a smooth textural experience, so a drizzle is often all you need.
  3. Textural Contrasts: Crudo de Pesce thrives on the juxtaposition of textures. Introducing elements that offer a subtle crunch or pop—like thinly sliced radishes, sesame seeds, or even popping fish roe—can complement the lush, buttery consistency of the fish.
  4. Garnish Choices: Microgreens, mint, or edible flowers not only add visual appeal but can also introduce a slight crunch or fresh burst that plays well with the tender fish.

By focusing on these elements, you add an extra layer of complexity to your Crudo, engaging not just the taste buds but also the tactile senses.

Unleash Your Creativity with Seatopia
Understanding these principles allows you to get creative. Want a tropical spin? Use grapefruit and mango with a hint of spicy jalapeño. Prefer something classic? Lemon and olive oil with a dash of black pepper and sea salt might be your go-to. At Seatopia, we encourage you to explore these principles with our high-quality, sustainably farmed seafood as your canvas.

Seatopia steelhead

The Seatopia Standard: Quality Above All

In preparing any raw seafood dish, the quality of your main ingredient—fresh, top-grade seafood—is non-negotiable. At Seatopia, we take quality seriously. Our Hudson Valley Fishery Steelhead Trout, for example, is 4-star BAP certified, devoid of hormones, antibiotics, artificial dyes, mercury, and microplastics. Sustainably grown in our Recirculating Aquaculture System in upstate New York, each 6oz, skin-on, sushi-grade fillet is loaded with Omega-3s, making it the perfect choice for Crudo de Pesce.

Preparing Your Crudo de Pesce

    Remember, the joy of Crudo is in its simplicity and the high-quality ingredients used. When sourced from Seatopia, not only are you guaranteed an outstanding meal, but you're also supporting sustainable, responsible seafood farming. We're proud to align our operations with our core pillars: environmental responsibility, animal health & welfare, food safety, and social accountability.

    Seatopia provides not just a product, but an experience that aligns with environmental responsibility, animal health & welfare, and social accountability. So, when you cook with our seafood, you're part of a bigger mission.

    Now that you have the keys to the kingdom of flavor balance, go ahead, get creative, and let your culinary imagination soar. And remember, the best way to showcase your newfound knowledge is to participate in our upcoming Lunar Culinary Mastery Contest this September. We can't wait to see what you come up with!

    Happy crafting your Crudo masterpiece!

    Your Turn to Master the Art of Crudo!

    Ready to try your hand at this elegant dish? We invite you to participate in our Lunar Culinary Mastery Contest tied to the lunar calendar. This September, the contest will focus on Crudo de Pesce and the winner will be announced on the Harvest Full Moon, Friday, September 29th. Don't miss this chance to showcase your culinary skills and win $100 Gift Card and other prizes!

    Explore the world of sustainable, delicious seafood with Seatopia. Happy cooking!

    Warning: Consuming Raw or Undercooked Seafood: Although our seafood products are of the highest quality and safe for raw consumption, consuming raw or undercooked seafood may increase your risk of foodborne illness. Consult your physician if you have specific health concerns.