Picked up a good bag of shirogisu whiting on Tokyo Bay today, despite the vicious summer heat out on the water. The boat was packed with anglers and unusually the owners did not lay on a second craft, so we were rather cramped on board. In particular a stunted curious young-old man with a ludicrous comic-voice, did his best to snag mine and all the other anglers’ tackle with his own, constantly removed his PFD despite it being boat rules to wear one at all times and even tried to nonchalantly dismiss the remonstrations of the skipper, who is a terrifying man and in my opinion, only the highly disturbed would ever dare to contradict him while at sea.
Anyway, my neighbours were not in today so I will dispose of all the whiting fillets myself. The first dish I made was the tenpura variation known as kakiage, containing chopped up fish and three types of finely sliced greenstuff: spring onion, shiso leaf and mitsuba. The diner is at liberty to mix the three tastes of squeezed lemon, Sichuan pepper-salt and the red version of the curious Kyushu relish known as yuzu koshoh, a mixture of red chillies mashed with native citrus, to his taste.
The next job was to poach some whiting fillets very gently, lay them out in a single layer in a glass tart-dish, stick a Mornay sauce on top and bake till bubbling. Whilst not particularly visually interesting, it came out very well, the white flesh and sauce going together. For a true calorific carronade, some French recipes call for whisking a couple of egg yolks into the sauce before baking, as well as greasing the dish with butter, and even more ludicrously, topping the whole thing with more cheese. I did none of these and it still came out a little rich though, so next time I might put a layer of sliced potatoes or aubergines or mushrooms in it, which would be a great improvement.
Incidentally, today I used the bamboo rod I made last year; it is turning out to be a very good fisher. Thanks as always to Fukagawa Fujimi.