The fish weren’t really good for eating as sashimi as they were not quite as oily and fat as I had hoped, usually at this time of the year they start fattening up but the aji were if anything, a little lean and hollow-bellied. Autumn/winter is the best time for eating. Therefore most of my catch was disposed of primarily by slicing the fish into fillets, breadcrumbing and deep-frying. A great many fillets were laid out and handed over to neighbours as gifts, some were frozen for future use but plenty were disposed of in my kitchen:
There are a couple of little tricks to make the fish all the much the tastier: one is to slap a whole shiso leaf onto the cut side of the fish before breadcrumbing & cooking. The shiso adds an extra dimension to the taste, aroma and colour. Also, this time I happened to have some tarragon handy (hard to get here in Tokyo usually) which I mixed in with my usual secret-recipe tartare sauce; again this adds an extra something and seems to go very well with fish. Served with a squueze of lemon, sliced plum tomatoes and a great pile of shredded cabbage, it is a complete dish.
Another traditional home-style way to eat aji is to pound the fish with some certain things – onion, Japanese yam, myouga, shiso leaf and a touch of miso – till it is a paste, and drop little balls of this paste into hot home-made miso soup to give you very tasty, very quick aji-dumplings in soup. I also added some thin slices of the white part of naganegi spring onions. The leftover aji-paste is also perfectly acceptable formed into patties and fried, or even better, rolled into little dumplings and deep-fried – the perfect accompaniment for those who like to quaff ice-cold Ebisu beer in this hideous Tokyo summer heat.