Surimi comes from Japan, where the word means "fish flesh"
Using an age-old method of preserving and consuming fish, the industry created a product with huge marketing success. The almost invariable recipe for surimi uses fish fillets (Alaskan hake, sea bream, hoki, blue whiting or sardines) that are washed, chopped and flavored. The paste is reconstituted into a range of different shapes, textures and colors.
The kind of fish used varies by country and region and makes use of overproduction. Every year, for example, Comaboko, a subsidiary of Comapêche, processes blue whiting fillets that are too small for French taste, and so blue whiting became a base for surimi. Today, the company is exploring a new path to maintain its position: fishing sardinella off the coast of Mauritania. In Quebec, pollock is generally used.
The production recipe differs from one producer to another in order to create a product with a competitively low price. Approximately 100 tons of fish are required to make 15 tons of surimi base. The fish are well rinsed in fresh water, then filleted, mixed into pulp and drained. At the outset only the fish protein is kept, formed into 10 kg sheets and stored at -30°.
The surimi is then processed in factories and generally consists of 50% fish pulp to which are added egg white, natural crab or lobster flavorings, and paprika for color. It also contains more sodium than seafood as well as a number of additives: sorbitol, sugar, polyphosphate, water, etc.
Surimi is usually found in the frozen foods aisle, sold in blocks or as sticks, flakes or slices.
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