Recipe reprinted with permission from Good Catch: A Guide to Sustainable Fish and Seafood with Recipes from the World’s Oceans by © 2023 Valentine Thomas. Published by Union Square & Co.

Messy Sushi Board


I did have access to amazing fresh fish, lobsters, conchs, and crabs, but after a long day of diving, the last thing I wanted to do was make immaculate little sushi rolls—even if I craved them so badly! One day, I decided to just throw all the ingredients normally used to make sushi onto a cutting board and assemble perfect sushi-like bites with my hands as I ate. It’s been one of my favorite ways to enjoy raw fish ever since. Plus, you can adapt it for any flavor enhancers. The orange zest is my secret ingredient—I love the way it gently perfumes the fish. Other fun additions are pineapple or mango, diced bell peppers, green onions, pomegranate arils, and jalapeños.

NOTE: Yuzu, an Asian citrus fruit, is sold in jars in Asian markets or Asian food aisles. But if you can’t find it, lime juice will work just fine.

½ pound raw fish, such as snapper, amberjack, or hamachi

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 cups freshly cooked sushi rice

3 tablespoons yuzu juice or fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Zest of 1 orange

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

1 small cucumber, thinly sliced

Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

2 (3.5-ounce) packages nori

1. Cut the fish fillets against the grain into ¼-inch thick pieces and set aside.

2. In a bowl, fold ¼ cup of the vinegar into the sushi rice and set aside.

3. In a small mixing bowl, add the yuzu juice, soy sauce, the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar, the garlic, and the orange zest. Whisk everything until well combined.

4. Spread the seasoned sushi rice over a serving platter or a large charcuterie board. Arrange the sliced fish over the rice. Drizzle the sauce on top of the fish and garnish with the shallot, cucumber, cilantro, and sesame seeds.

5. Serve with halved nori sheets.