Long before there were Viking ranges and wood-oven fires, there was crudo. The time-honored art of slicing and seasoning raw fish has been practiced in cultures around the globe for millennia, with the first mentions of similar dishes originating in China nearly 3,000 years ago.
While the means of creating a perfect crudo may have changed, the principle remains the same: it’s an artful dance between preparer and materials, relying on the delicate balance of flavors to highlight the fish, not mask it.
While the Japanese are often credited as the first to popularize raw fish, the practice may have actually originated in China, where kuai, a dish prepared from thinly-sliced raw fish or meat, has been a staple for thousands of years, with the first mentions of the dish originating during the Zhou Dynasty, beginning in 1045 B.C. While Japanese sashimi was thought to have originated around the turn of the last millennium, the first mentions of the dish arrived nearly 1,000 years later, during the Muromachi period in the 11th century. During the same time sashimi was becoming an integral part of Japanese culinary culture, a similar dish, ceviche, was rising to prominence in Latin America. Ceviche has since become such a staple in Peru that it was honored with a national day of celebration in 2008.
More recently, crudo, an Italian take on raw fish, has made its way into the mainstream, with preparations of this flavorful raw fish dish taking off at some of the world’s most famous eateries. As poke and carpaccio have become welcome parts of many American meals and ceviche in Latin America, crudo has similarly seen its profile rise. While the intricacy of preparing raw fish properly can make it seem like a task best left to the pros, Qui believes that, with the right training and tools, a well-prepared crudo can be executed by even an amateur chef.
The art of making a crudo can seem intimidating, but it’s actually surprisingly simple, It’s all about understanding the fish and balancing qualities like temperature, acidity and salt. Flavorful oils, fresh fish, and a little inspiration can turn even the most nervous crudo creators into experts with just a little practice.
— says Paul Qui.
Pao by Paul Qui. Reservations can be made at +1 786 655 5600.