You may not have great sushi chops—it takes years of training—but you can make a sashimi roll, as long as you have a sharp knife.
What’s a sashimi roll? It’s sashimi ingredients wrapped in another piece of fish, a cucumber wrap, even nori (toasted seaweed). As long as there’s no vinegared (seasoned) rice, it’s not sushi.
Some sushi and sashimi basics:
Sushi is vinegared rice with raw fish (including shellfish) and related ingredients: cooked proteins (octopus, salmon skin, shrimp), roe/caviar (ikura, masago, tobiko), sliced omelet (tamago), tempura (deep fried), raw wagyu, etc.
Su means vinegar and shi means rice; so sushi can be anything served with vinegared sushi rice. It can be fish placed on a bowl of rice (chirashi sushi), pressed into a box of rice and cut into rectangles), stuffed into a tofu pouch (imari) and so on. The common ingredient: vinegared rice. If we’ve said this too often, it’s because it’s an important distinction.
Sashimi is raw fish (often including tamago). It can be sliced, chopped (like yellowtail and scallion roll, negi-hamachi), chopped and sauced (spicy tuna or salmon roll), served in an oyster shell (or on top of the oyster), etc. You can also make “crudité sashimi” by wrapping lengthwise-sliced vegetables in a piece of fish, creating a vertical bundle fastened with a pick.
Naruto roll is a sushi-sashimi fusion: a roll with no rice. It is stuffed only with different fish, roe, vegetables, crab salad, etc. Naruto also refers to little the small pieces of food that float in soup, ramen, etc: fish cake, seaweed, scallions, tofu cubes, etc. Most people refer to naruto as sushi because it is rolled; but since it has no rice, we call it a sashimi roll. (Note: Slicing an entire cucumber in thin, continuous roll has got to be the hardest task in sushi preparation.)
Tamago, a sweetened omelet cooked in a rectangular pan, can be served in any of these preparations. It is neither fish nor vegetable nor dairy (from a mammal’s milk), but is considered an animal by-product.
CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SUSHI & SASHIMI IN OUR PHOTO-PACKED GLOSSARY.
WAYS TO SERVE SASHIMI
The slices of raw fish can be:
Arranged artistically on a plate, usually with some vegetable garnish (daikon, shredded radish; shiso, beefsteak leaf, etc.)—the traditional presentation.
Placed over a base, such as avocado or salad (if placed over vinegared rice it’s chirashi sushi).
Used to top fried tofu, raw or fried oysters, etc. (especially roe and chopped preparations).
Wrapped around a core of of crab or other salad, cucumber matchsticks, avocado, etc.
RECIPE: SASHIMI ROLL
We adapted the bottom photo idea from Herringbone restaurant in Santa Monica. That roll mounds albacore tuna sashimi over an avocado half, with a garnish of ginger, tobiko, sambal* and sprouts.
You can use whatever fish looks best in the market, and customize your dish with as many garnishes as you like. They don’t all have to be on top of the sashimi; you cam artistically scatter them around the serving plate.
Base: avocado half, chopped salad, cooked fish, endive or radicchio, hearts of romaine, mesclun, whole grains (cooked), etc.
Fish: sashimi-quality fish of choice, sliced thin enough to drape.
Garnish: citrus zest, chopped chives or scallions, cress, fresh herbs, grated daikon and/or carrot, microgreens, minced garlic, minced red jalapeño, salmon or flying fish roe (caviar), raw or toasted sesame seeds.
Dressing or sauce: flavored olive oil† with lemon or lime juice, ponzu sauce (recipe) rice vinegar vinaigrette.
1. PREPARE the salad base. If using an avocado, don’t slice or peel it until you’re ready to plate.
2. DRESS the base with vinaigrette or olive oil and lemon/lime. If using an avocado, place it plate side down and drizzle the dressing over it.
3. MOUND the base onto each plate into an oval. Cover with the sashimi strips. Garnish as desired and serve.
*Sambal is a hot relish commonly used in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking. There are many varieties, using different fruits or vegetables, different spices, and different levels of heat.
† Basil-, chili-, chive-, citrus- and rosemary-infused oils are all good here.
 Sashimi at Haru in New York City, with a naruto roll at the lower right (photo © ).
 Naruto roll, with ingredients wrapped in a thin roll of cucumber—at Tamari in Pittsburg (photo © Tamari Restaurant ).
 Salmon sashimi roll: crab salad wrapped in a slice of salmon and topped with spicy salmon (photo © Sushi | Portugal).
 This Rainbow Roll from Blue Ribbon Sushi in New York City is a sushi roll covered with sashimi, but it’s still sushi, with vinegared rice (photo © Blue Ribbon Sushi).
 Fish over a bed of guacamole at Herringbone in La Jolla, California Herringbone Restaurant.