Cutlassfish fillets breaded and baked in the oven till nice and crisp; of course with not so secret-recipe tartar sauce on the side. In my opinion cutlassfish isn’t that good eaten raw after two days, so I prepare them in cooked dishes. The next was a pie, containing chopped fillets with fusili pasta, garlic, onions, broccoli, Bechemel sauce and the whole topped with Cheddar cheese and baked till bubbling-hot. Off the bone, the fillets go melting-tender and the dish is really a meal in itself. I was rather hoping we could stretch this to three meals but funnily enough, it was all devoured in two sittings.
The very last of the cutlassfish was dealt with, genuine charcuterie-style i.e., preserved with salt. Bone-in pieces of fish were lightly cured with sea salt, and then slathered in a special mix of miso and other things and left overnight in the fridge.
The result is a very tender, deeply flavoured fish that will keep for a week in the fridge and only needs liberating from its miso coat and a minute or two each side under the grill (the cured fish was too long to fit in my stove griller so I cut it in two).
Cutlassfish is one of those remarkable ingredients like cuttlefish, that eats well no matter how you prepare it. My favourites include as sushi and grilled, and I indulged in both as I was very lucky on the water, despite it being the 13th. First dish up was steaks of cutlassfish sprinkled with salt and then grilled under the cooker grill, and flavoured four ways (from top to bottom): with summer truffle-salt, with Sichuan pepper, with Italian porcini-salt and lastly a mixture of mayonnaise and wasabi. All were washed down with very cold white wine.
Next in line was cutlassfish sushi. The cutlassfish fillet is cut into strips which are lightly grilled before being flavoured with salt, wasabi and squeezed yuzu juice – no soy sauce is needed in the eating.
More sushi followed…
With a bottle each of white and red wine and some sundry beers over the course of the preparing and eating, my memory becomes a little indistinct after these dishes, but I still have plenty of fillets left over for today as well, and some vacuum-packed and ready to be given to friends. These days I don’t get out to sea as often as I used to so I appreciate each trip more! Thanks as always to a Bentenya, Kanazawa Hakkei, for the great day’s fishing.
Good day out on the water thanks as always to Bentenya, sailing from Kanazawa Hakkei.
The recipe is from R & P’s Salumi book. I swapped preserved truffle slices for truffle oil but otherwise the recipe is the same. I am using T-SPX culture for the first time (usually I use F-MR-52) so we shall have to see how it works out – a slow ferment at lower temperature. For me, the biggest learning experience so far has been the use of beef middles – they are tough (seemingly unbreakable), perfect size and easy to stuff but nothing really prepared me for how bad they smell and how it lingers on everything that touched them; a nasty, nasty business. Anyway, I have four truffle salami fermenting away in my chamber as I write this and I look forward to the result.
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.
from my last batch was consumed in some spaghetti alla Carbonara.
Caught on a hot August morning!