The Hirame a standard flat fish in Japan lives both in the river and the sea taking refuge at the bottom in the mud. Flatfish are masters of camouflage, their bodies closely matching the sand, mud or of their hunting grounds, and many species are even equipped with millions of chromatophores. Just like an octopus, they can open and close these multicolored skin cells to take on any desirable pattern, intelligently re-creating the surrounding colors.
This fish is commonly used in sushi and either as a sushi course or served as sashimi. For sushi lovers, or foodies, sushi in Japan is not always served according to the clients specific demands. While you sit in New York, or Los Angeles you can command whatever your heart desires from the chef, but not in Japan at a high-end sushi counter – it works differently.
In many cases sushi is ‘omakase’ which means the ‘chef’s choice’ and a client sits down and waits for the chef to serve his fish repertoire. Hirame is referred to as ‘shirome’, which means ‘white fish’, a course served at the beginning before any other fish is offered.
Each chef has his own way of cleaning and preparing ‘shirome’ and in this case, the chef cleans both sides by removing the outer skin with a very sharp knife. The fish’s outer skin and scales are removed in order to provide the chef the means to easily remove the actual fish’s skin during service.
The skin is peeled away by the knife’s action, otherwise it would very difficult to handle the fish at the sushi counter. In order to remove the actual skin Here you see the chef removing the dark-side of the fish, and in other videos I have him removing the white side.