Boned spalla

Clearing out the freezer at home with the memsahib and found a big chunk of boneless spalla I dried last year, still tied in string and vacuum-packed.  This is made from bellota-grade pork and is very, very fatty.  I had the time today to slice it and it is ready to be consumed (with plenty leftover for friends, neighbours and colleagues).  This is what individual slices from the thin end looked like:

Thankfully it has started to cool down a bit these past few weeks in Tokyo so perhaps I can start another batch of dry curing in September.  I am very keen on trying a couple of recipes from R & P including some variations of salami.  Anyway, my latest charcuterie investment, the home vacuum sealer, is proving to be definitely worth the money (a staggering 9800 yen) and I also use it for my angling catches too.  I put the slices of meat onto a layer of waxed brown paper and seal the whole thing up – perfect for freezing or giving as a gift somewhere.

Last of the guanciale

from my last batch was consumed in some spaghetti alla Carbonara.

Birthday Herabuna

Caught on a hot August morning!

Summer Oysters

The opposite of C. gigas, i.e., these are best eaten during the hottest months of the year, or those without an “r” in their name.  Some of these oysters can grow to immense sizes but I bought these fairly average-sized ones as they are cheaper.  Still, the flesh inside is much larger than regular Pacific oysters.   These are from Miyagi Prefecture, and were quite delicious and strong-tasting.

New batch of fresh sausage

This time made exactly to Ruhlman & Polcyn’s “Sweet Italian Sausage” recipe.  It is very heavily flavoured with fennel – thank you Mr. W. for the excellent quality fennelseed!  In fact, having such strong flavours makes this sausage ideal for pasta sauces, risotto or pizza topping.  Tonight I made a quick sauce for pasta with some seasonal tomatoes and shimeji Japanese mushrooms.

Summer-time fishing

Hot day on the Bay…

Saturday Aji Fishing

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Glorious weather for offshore fishing over the weekend, and the Tokyo Bay aji put up a fairly good show as well, despite a spring tide on the ebb all day.  It was nice just to be out on the sea again after a hiatus in my saltwater fishing.

This time of year the aji are a little slim and not so oily, but fairly delicious when cooked in the orthodox fashion, breadcrumbed and grilled or fried.  I made the not-so-secret tartar sauce to go with, of course.  As for eating raw, aji in this state are best served as the dish known in Japanese as nameroh, quite literally “Lick It”.  The name is not at all scabrous, but a reference to the deliciousness of the dish which allegedly makes some diners lick their plates clean.  The filleted fish is mixed with fresh ginger, myouga root, sake, spring onion and a touch of miso, before being chopped very fine into a paste.  It eats fine as-is, but some diners like to drizzle a little rice vinegar over it or even soy sauce.  If this pounded fish-paste is stuffed into an abalone shell and grilled over a fire, it is known as sanga-yaki.

After a hot sunny day on the water, Okinawan beer went down very well with the aji.  For some reason my local store has started stocking this beer.

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Aji fishing usually leaves the angler with some fish left over after his evening meal, and this time was no exception.  I cured the fish overnight and sun-dried them next morning.  This time the fish were dried as fillets though they are more often made bone-in.

Thanks as always to Benten-ya, sailing from Kanazawa Hakkei, Kanagawa.