Lately I started to make my own Nigiri Sushi (握り寿司), which is the most common type of sushi with a slice of raw fish on top of sushi rice pillow. Today I’ll show you how to make this delicious Otoro Sushi two ways – seared and un-seared.
What’s Otoro (大トロ)?
Otoro is the most prized part of the tuna belly and it’s also the fattiest part of the tuna / maguro (鮪). This delicious cut tuna belly is located at lowest section of tuna belly and it is highest in fat content and light in color. The well-marbled Otoro is so soft and tender that it literally melts in your mouth.
Otoro is very rare so you may not see it offered in most of the sushi restaurants, and the price is usually ridiculously high because less than 1% of the tuna body can be categorized as Otoro.
Image from Metropolitansushi.com
Sushi-grade tuna for Chutoro & Otoro Sushi
My online sashimi store Fish for Sushi carries varieties of sushi grade fish, including Otoro and Chutoro. For those of you who don’t have an access to high-quality sushi grade fish in your local area in the US, you can now enjoy sushi at your own home by placing the order online!
Until December 31st, 2014, Fish for Sushi is offering JOC readers 5% off your entire purchase along with $5 shipping for this holiday season. Don’t forget to enter the coupon code during checkout.
Making Otoro Sushi at Home
At Fish for Sushi, when we cut a block of tuna belly into smaller individual pieces to sell, we end up with odd pieces that are difficult to slice for sushi and sashimi. And we keep those pieces for ourselves. Whenever those pieces become available, I make Otoro Sushi for my family.
I highly recommend to serve Otoro with sushi rice because Otoro can be too fatty to eat on its own.
Too intimidated to make sushi rice pillows yourself at home? Don’t worry, Fish for Sushi started to carry these rice pillows recently and they have been such a time saver for me. All you need to do is defrost the rice pillows and place sliced sashimi on top.
For Otoro, a very popular way for sushi restaurant to serve is is slightly seared (Aburi, 炙り). Simply use a blow torch to lightly sear Otoro pieces to bring out the latent flavors and umami. Seared tuna resembles more like a slice of marbled steak than a piece of fish.
Now just close your eyes and let it melt away in your mouth…
Just a quick note, true Otoro is really fatty and it’s like eating a stick of butter. If you haven’t tried it before, I recommend trying Chutoro first. Chutoro also has a very high fat content but with a bit more red meat.
What alcoholic beverage goes well with sushi?
Typically with sushi, we love enjoying it with sake or beer as alcoholic beverage of choice. But did you know wine goes well with sushi too?
The Otoro sushi and this rosé wine paired really well. The crisp light fruity rosé cleaned the palate perfectly after the fatty tuna. This rosé wine had a really light and refreshing smell, almost like walking in a field of flowers during the spring time. As you drink it, it is smooth and light with strong hints of berries and a slight hint of citrus. The finish is clean and leaves you wanting for another sip, after you take another bit of the Otoro sushi. Enjoy this wine on a warm day or with your favorite sushi!
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- Otoro (fatty tuna), sushi-grade (purchase here)
- Sushi rice pillows (purchase here)
- Soy sauce, wasabi, sushi ginger (pickled red ginger) for garnish
- Remove the skin and trim around the piece.
- Slice to desired thickness. Due to the high fat content, a thinner slice is recommended.
- Scrape the meat off from the skin. This part is considered one of tuna’s most delicious part and you can use it to make Negitoro Don.
- With a kitchen blow torch, sear the Otoro to bring out the latent umami flavors.
- Place on the sushi pillows… and squeeze yuzu juice on top of the seared Otoro. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and sushi ginger.
Disclosure: We received no compensation for this wine review. We received a bottle of 2013 Rose of Pinot Noir- Central Coast from Jarvis Communication free of charge to use in exchange for an honest review.