Salmon Sashimi with Shishito Pepper Sauce

Shishito peppers from the farmers’ market fell into my basket this week.

I was 22 the first time I had sushi.

I don’t remember it being so glorious because it was likely an overcooked tempura shrimp concoction with krab. Probably smothered in sweet sauce. And topped with brown avocado. To be fair, it was only $8.99 for all-you-can-eat, and that’s a steal!

Fast-forward a few years.

I let a white man I had just started dating take me to a Japanese dinner in a dumpy strip mall. Shuddering in front of a dimly lit wooden door between a printing outfit and a women’s fashion shoppe, I quickly plotted a Plan B; I figured if I ate light and filled up on edamame, I could still go home and nuke some pasta. Maybe I’d also pretend to lose this guy’s number. Why do I keep picking weirdoes?

Inside, we were seated at the bar. My chair had a short, gimpy leg. The freshly wiped counter was a bit… gooey. The floor was decorated in gray; I think it’s called “grime” in English. The frayed linens overhead? I’m still not sure where that ended and the cobwebs began.

You probably know how this story ends.

We skipped straight past the Special Roll, and zeroed in on the good stuff: Albacore so delicate you couldn’t tell which way the grain went, yellowtail so tender it melted in your mouth and scallops so sweet you didn’t kill it with soy sauce.

Cobwebs add fiber, and everyone needs fiber… right?


This week, I returned the favor. I met with a man, name withheld, who sold fish out of his dirty white van on the side of a road in a tent full of Colemans. We made eye contact; then a quick transaction using few words. I walked away with an ice-pack of salmon. He pocketed my eight Washingtons.

Less than an hour later, my date resurfaced from the garden (where he was building a chicken coop) to enjoy his sketchy lunch.

In sketch we trust.

In sketch you trust?


Salmon Sashimi with Shishito Pepper Sauce


Salmon Sashimi with Shishito Pepper Sauce

Sashimi-grade salmon, sliced thin and dressed with a sauce of minced shishito peppers, lime, ginger, soy and cilantro. Served with a side of market greens. 


~ Serves 2 ~


~ Ingredients ~

  • 1 shishito pepper, minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½” cube ginger, juiced (by squeezing cube through a garlic press)
  •  1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro, minced
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ pound of sashimi-grade salmon
  • 2 ounces mixed greens


~ Preparation ~

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

  1. Make sauce: Combine the first 7 ingredients into a small glass bowl. Whisk in canola oil to combine.
  2. Cut sashimi: With a good sushi knife, thinly slice salmon, tweezing out any stray bones. Divide between two plates.
  3. Drizzle two tablespoons of sauce over each pile of salmon. Add mixed greens to remaining sauce and mix (with clean fingers). Divide mixed greens evenly onto two plates.
  4. Serve immediately.

Source: Rustic Garden Bistro

Salmon Sashimi with Shishito Pepper Sauce



  1. says

    Wow. Your salmon looks amazing. Raw sashimi grade salmon is THE BEST. I am starving now and wish I could have this for lunch :)

  2. says

    I am big fan of shishito peppers and sushi…. and wow this looks damn good. Must make as soon as I can get my hands on the ingredients. YUMMY! I am really hungry all of a sudden and I am actually eating lunch right now :)

  3. says

    Very cute story. :) I had a few of those sketchy dates…thank goodness those days are past. We have all the sushi making gear, but have not done much of it. It is a treat to have out. I did make that Crisp Wasabi Tuna dish with sushi grade tuna and it was one of the best things I have ever had, so maybe I’ll give the sushi a go again!

  4. says

    Ha! Love the story! I’m not a fan of fish…at all. So I’ll admit, I almost didn’t read this post. But your story sucked me in and now I’m thinking I should make this for my husband. He would love it. And maybe I’ll even be brave enough to try it:)

  5. says

    What a great story. You have such a voice! And it made me remember the first days of my sushi exploration. Thank you for sharing another beautiful recipe. I hope you had a lovely weekend, and I hope you have an even lovelier week. Many blessings and much love…

  6. says

    I have had a grin on my face all the time while reading your post! What an entertaining story! You nailed the writing angle with this one:) I could almost see the place you described, the grime, cobwebs, and sticky counters, and that is the mark of good writing.
    I have never heard of these peppers and now I am intrigued! I have to visit Tustin farmers’ market when I come back from Serbia (leaving tomorrow!)
    I’ll leave sushi to someone else for the moment, as the rice and the bamboo mats intimidate me, but you encouraged me to try making some sashimi (that salmon looks gorgeous!)

  7. says

    Love this story! Now I want to go try these peppers! We have to go to the Orange Farmers market one Saturday

  8. says

    I knew it!! I just knew that inner writer would emerge and her she is – “in sketch you trust” indeed!!
    That is some of the most beautiful sashimi I have seen lately – and I can only imagine how fabulous it tasted!

  9. says

    I need a sushi knife, I think, because I’m totally into making gravlax at home now and I need a proper slicing knife to get those cuts perfectly. What brand/size do you use?

    This is completely gorgeous–and yes, sometimes the sketchiest places yield the tastiest results.

  10. says

    Thanks for sharing your vivid food memory. My first sushi experience . . . I’m almost certain it was probably that bland attempt of a sushi roll filled with fake crab, and like you said, bland and doused with soya and wasabi. I appreciated your more recent food experience – the hook up for the salmon. Hope you’re having a good summer.