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.

Homemade sushi ginger

Called gari in a sushi restaurant, or beni shouga outside, I made my own sushi ginger over the weekend.  Steeping ginger in the expressed juice of umeboshi salted plums is the traditional method, although basically nobody does this these days commercially – the poor ginger is simply steeped in a store-bought chemical mix and then served as-is.  To make gari in the traditional way, first off you need the ume-vinegar or liquor, a by-product of making your own umeboshi plums, and some young stem ginger.

Then it is simply a matter of slicing the ginger thin, drying it partly then curing it in the ume-vinegar.  The resulting product is sushi ginger.  A true gourmand will know it for its palate-cleansing properties, where one should eat a small quantity between different types of sushi to ensure you enjoy the taste of each.  Shredded fine, it is also a mainstay of many Japanese dishes like home-style yakisoba, okonomiyaki and various Kansai treats such as takoyaki.

Spring-time hera

Very busy, but still enough time on a Sunday to catch some herabuna.

Japan Charcuterie

Special offer on at my local store so I indulged myself in some Japanese charcuterie.  We’ll see how they taste!

Over the weekend my father bought me some cuts of lamb (a meat not generally on sale here in Tokyo) and I suddenly and happily found I had all the ingredients for a Lancashire hotpot.  Perhaps I could dedicate it to Burnley F.C.’s promotion; regardless, it went down well, and the leftovers tasted even better the next day!