Caught some big ones

At least if you are a tanago angler…

It was hotter and humider than Satan’s codpiece last Sunday in Japan, but out at sea at least there was an occasional breath of wind to relieve the heat.  The weather did not interfere unnecessarily with the main objective of the day’s outing, which was to eat a very large amount of tenpura (whiting, megochi, squid, prawns, shiitake, lots of different veg) washed down with beer and shochu mixers.

I rather felt we were on board a sea-going izakaya rather than a fishing vessel, reinforced by the fact that this was a charter organised by my local bar and there were some very serious drinkers and eaters.  I had a lot of stuff to do in the evening so tried to avoid getting too roaring-drunk, but met with the immense kindness of my hosts (Japanese hospitality seems to get even stronger when out on the water) who plied me with more shochu, more beer, do I need more ice? and so forth.  The hillocks of straight-out-the-pot tenpura, the asari littleneck clams shucked, lovingly skewered on bamboo and grilled with a soy sauce glaze, the infinity of pickles and miso-shiru and rice made me decide I would not need to eat again for about a week (this proved to be wrong, though).

My homemade whiting rod is still giving good service, and occasionally I caught some fish in between the Yebisu beers straight out the cooler.

Thank you very much to Captain Yukio as always, Fukagawa Fujimi and all the regulars at my local izakaya!

Long day

under a hot sun!  I think the monsoon is now over in Japan, rapidly replaced by a burning-hot summer…

late Waterloo/early Father’s Day

Bread and butter pudding…

One way

to improve a well-equipped sport fishing vessel is to have a deep-fryer on board.  Many thanks as always to Captain Yukio and Fukagawa Fujimi, sailing from Monzennakacho!

Just a few aji fillets

I’m still around, sorry for the lack of posts but I have been a bit busy lately.  Last weekend I managed to get out for some aji fishing with my workplace’s fishing club and caught some tasty fish for the pot.  I gave away most of my bag to those who didn’t catch much but there was still plenty left for me when I got home.  These were cut into single fillets, breadcrumbed and shallow-fried in olive oil.

Weekend Parasitology

A friend gave me a few fillets of katsuo (skipjack tuna).  I’m sure he didn’t know about the cestode guest lurking within one of them!  This is the larva of a certain species of platyhelminth, but completely harmless to humans (you can even eat them without any ill effects).  You may also find them in saba (mackerel) and surumeika (flying squid).  The dish tataki made with katsuo, a specialty of Tosa, is specifically done with the purpose of getting rid of these creatures (with fire).  If you are lucky enough to eat katsuo up north (such as I was served in Iwate) the water temperature is too low for the larvae to survive so the locals always eat their katsuo as-is, without the charring.  Incidentally, this particular fillet was shallow-fried in olive oil with salt & pepper and eaten between two slices of toast for breakfast, with no detectable influence of the parasite on the deliciousness of the fish.

Fennel Salami

My batch of fennel salami (I won’t write the Italian for it, being also a vulgar term) is now ready after five weeks of drying.  This was the first time I have used artificial casings for salami, mostly because they are readily available by mail order here in Japan, unlike salted beef middles, and also because the last time I used big natural casings for salami the smell was so bad the memsahib banned me from ever de-salting them in our kitchen again.  The taste and texture came out pretty good though the drying was slightly uneven (possibly because I was in Guam for a week and couldn’t attend the drying chamber during that time) but I am most happy with the definition of the fat and the ratio of meat and fat within the sausage.  Since this was the first time using artificial casings there was a possibility of mucking this up so I just used regular local supermarket pork, resulting in the salami lacking the really complex layers of flavour and nicely perfumed fat you get using good pork; it was still pretty damn good and leagues ahead of anything you can buy in the store.  Thanks also to Mr. W. for the excellent quality fennel!