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Crudo is easy to make at home and is one of those appetizers that will WOW your guests. Think of crudo like Italian-style sashimi- raw fish drizzled with olive oil, flakey sea salt, citrus, and herbs. We’ll show you the basic recipe to use as a jumping-off point for your own creations. There are many ways to prepare crudo!
For those of you who love sushi, ceviche, and aguachile, this crudo recipe is for you! In our catering business, it was always a hit, disappearing the fastest! When I see it on a restaurant menu (most often as hamachi crudo), it is my favorite thing to order- crudo, especially when prepared well, is so fresh, tasty, and healthy! The best part is how easy it is to make at home, with truly the simplest of ingredients! But first…
What is Crudo?
In its most basic definition, crudo is the Italian word for raw. Crudo is prepared with raw fish or shellfish that is seasoned and dressed, usually with olive oil and citrus, and sometimes vinegar. Crudo lends itself to creativity! Once you have fresh, good-quality raw fish and your dressing, you can add anything you wish, from fresh herbs and thinly sliced vegetables or chilies to capers, spices, or microgreens. The sky’s the limit here, so have fun creating a colorful topping to dress up your Crudo.
Why You’ll love this!
- Easy & fast to make! Remember to freeze the fish 20-30 minutes prior to preparing your Crudo. Once this is done, all you have left to do is whisk together the dressing, then slice the fish and arrange it on the plate with the dressing and your desired toppings!
- Simple ingredients. In addition to your choice of wild ocean fish, the only other ingredients are olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper. The options are endless when it comes to fun and colorful toppings you can add to your Crudo, and chances are, you probably have a good bit of these in your kitchen already! It never hurts to keep it simple. Start by using just a few additional toppings when you make your first Crudo!
- The wow factor. No matter how you dress up your Crudo, this is an impressive dish. Not only does it taste refreshing, salty, and bright, but the fish creates a blank canvas for colorful, beautiful toppings that will certainly wow your friends and family.
What You’ll Need to Make Crudo
- Wild Ocean Fish: The quality of the fish is important here. It is best not to use farmed fish- best fresh fish options are: halibut, escolar, sea bass, salmon, wild cod, black cod, hamachi, tuna (yellowtail, ahi), rockfish, red snapper, ono, or scallops. You’ll need skin-off fish for making Crudo. Freeze the fish for 20-30 minutes prior to preparing so it is easier to slice thinly.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Again, use the best quality you can. Since this is a raw recipe you will be able to taste the flavor of the olive oil, so be sure to choose a good brand.
- Citrus Juice: You can use lemon juice, lime juice, yuzu, key lime, Meyer lemon, mandarine, orange or even grapefruit. Try it a few different ways, as they are all equally delicious! You can also use vinegar.
- Citrus Zest: Use the zest of whatever citrus fruit you choose to add an extra bit of bold, citrus flavor. This is what gives Crudo that by-the-sea flavor that’s so irresistible.
- Sea Salt and black pepper: Flakey salt will add a bit of crunchy texture while also bringing out the flavors of the oil, citrus, and whatever toppings you use. Pepper gives this dish a punchy, spicy bite!
- Herbs: Tender herbs are best: great options are basil, cilantro, chives, tarragon, mint, or Italian Parsley. Chop or tear the herbs and sprinkle them over your dish.
- Optional additions: Add fresh chili peppers, capers, cucumber, radish, watermelon radish, Calabrian chilies, microgreens, olives, or chili flakes (Aleppo and Urfa Biber are both nice here). Anything goes here! If using peppers, cucumber, radish, or chilies, slice them paper thin.
While we’ve given you a basic flavor profile, keep in mind there are no rules here! As long as you have a good balance between fat(oil), salt (umami), and acid, you are good to go! Take crudo in other directions, for example:
- Japanese-Inspired: Use our ponzu sauce for the dressing or try a mixture of sesame oil, yuzu, shoyo, and mirin! Delicious on Hamachi Crudo or Tuna Crudo!
- Gremolata– Use our basic crudo dressing, then drizzle our gremolata around the plate- or use another herby sauce!
- Middle Eastern- Use our basic dressing, then drizzle zhoug around the plate.
Step-by-Step CruDO InSTructionS
Step One: Freeze the fish. Before preparing your Crudo, freeze the raw fish for 20-30 minutes. This will make it easier to slice thinly and cleanly.
Step Two: Prepare the Crudo dressing. Zest the lemon, or other choice of citrus, and set the zest aside. Combine the olive oil, lemon (or citrus) juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
Step Three: Slice the fish. Remove the fish from the freezer and using a very sharp knife ( sharpen it!) slice it into very thin 1/8-inch thick (or thinner!) slices.
Step Four: Assemble the Crudo—spoon half of the whisked crudo dressing onto a serving plate. Cover the area where you plan to arrange the fish.
Place the fish onto the plate over the dressing.
Arrange the slices in a row, circle, scattered, or however you wish! See the photos throughout this post for examples.
Add your toppings. Tuck in veggies, herbs, chilies, and any other additions you want to use.
And Lastly, spoon the remaining dressing over the top of the fish. Finish with zest, flakey salt, and chili flakes.
Serve cold. Refrigerate the Crudo until you are ready to serve. It is best served cold! Leftovers are good for one day.
- For the easiest slicing, freeze the fish before preparing Crudo. Freeze your fish for 20-30 minutes before making Crudo. This crucial step will make it easier to slice the fish thinly.
- Use a sharp knife. For smooth, even, and thin slices, a good sharp knife is a must-have!
- Use a mandolin for the vegetables. While you can use a sharp knife to thinly slice your vegetable toppings, a mandolin can make it a lot easier to create paper-thin slices of cucumber, radish, or peppers.
- Flavor: Make sure your dressing is balanced. Fat, Salt & Acid!
- Refrigerate before serving. This dish is best enjoyed cold! Even if you plan to serve it right away, place the plate in the fridge for a few minutes.
Crudo is made with raw fish or seafood that is dressed with citrus and olive oil, and sometimes vinegar. Other seasonings are typically added on top.
Crudo always begins with something raw, usually fish or shellfish, but sometimes even thinly sliced raw meat. Then Crudo is dressed with an oil and citrus mixture. Sashimi uses raw fish, but usually without a marinade, sauce, or even a garnish. It is sometimes dipped in soy sauce. Ceviche is made with raw seafood that is “cooked” in a citrus juice marinade that cures it. Ceviche calls for more acid compared to Crudo, resulting in a different texture.
Yes! Buy wild ocean fish from a good source. Visit a fish market or fishmonger if you can, and avoid using farmed fish. Do not use prepackaged fish when making a raw dish.
As a raw dish, you can taste the brininess of the fish, enjoying the fresh, natural flavor. It’s citrusy and salty, and the other optional toppings add even more flavor.
This raw Italian dish can be followed by any Italian main like pasta, ragu, burrata, or polenta. Or pair it with an assortment of appetizers for gatherings and parties.
If you know your fish is fresh and of good quality, try rinsing the fish in cold water and pat dry. Then smell again. If it still smells fishy, I would not use it in crudo. Often, it is the packaging that smells fishy- so you want to rule this out.
More recipes you may enjoy!
Well, I hope you give this Crudo a try. It is honestly one of my favorite things to eat- so much flavor and goodness! It is fun to make, and is always the hit of a party!
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Crudo is easy to make at home and one of those appetizers that will WOW your guests. Think of crudo like Italian-style sashimi- raw fish drizzled with olive oil, flakey sea salt, citrus, and herbs. We’ll show you the basic recipe to use as a jumping-off point for your own creations. There are many ways to prepare crudo!
- 8 ounces of wild ocean fish (skin off): halibut, escolar, sea bass, hamachi, tuna (yellow tail, ahi), rockfish, red snapper, ono, or scallops (freeze for 30 minutes)
Basic Crudo Dressing:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- Spicy: Chili flakes (Alepo or urfa biber), thinly sliced fresh chilies ( serrano, red, jalapeno), or calabrian chilies.
- Fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, Italian parsley, tarragon, mint, microgreens)
- Crunchy: cucumber, radish, pickled onions, watermelon radish,
- Optional additions: capers, toasted pinenuts, arugula, gremolata, flaky sea salt
- Freeze fish for 20-30 minutes to make it easier to slice.
- Make the Crudo Dressing. Zest the lemon and set zest aside. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set this aside.
- Slice the fish into very thin slices.
- Spoon half of the whisked crudo dressing on a plate, covering the area where you plan to put the fish. Arrange the fish- either in a row, circle, scattered, or how ever you like. See photos above.
- Tuck in veggies, herbs, chilies and whatever additions you want to use, then spoon the remaining crudo dressing over top of the fish. Finish with the zest and chili flakes.
- Refrigerate until serving. Best served cold!
- Left overs are good for one day.
If your fish smells “fishy”, but you know it to be of good quality, try rinsing in under cold water, then pat dry. Smell again. Sometimes it is the packaging that smells fishy.
- Serving Size: 2 ounces
- Calories: 227
- Sugar: 0.2 g
- Sodium: 336.1 mg
- Fat: 21.9 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 0.6 g
- Fiber: 0.1 g
- Protein: 8.2 g
- Cholesterol: 26.1 mg
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