Aji Gluttony

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.


2 responses to “Aji Gluttony

  1. I like the idea of making aji dumplings. Thinking this should work well with other somewhat soft, not-to-oily fish.

  2. Barbra & Jack, I made these with equal amounts of filleted aji and grated naga-imo (not sure what that is in English!) and a pinch each of spring onion, myouga, shiso leaves and seasoned with soy sauce: then everything wazzed in a food mixer till it is a paste. Very simple, very good after a long day at sea! Like you say, they would probably be good with most fish; how about some of your local rockfish?

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