Glorious weather for offshore fishing over the weekend, and the Tokyo Bay aji put up a fairly good show as well, despite a spring tide on the ebb all day. It was nice just to be out on the sea again after a hiatus in my saltwater fishing.
This time of year the aji are a little slim and not so oily, but fairly delicious when cooked in the orthodox fashion, breadcrumbed and grilled or fried. I made the not-so-secret tartar sauce to go with, of course. As for eating raw, aji in this state are best served as the dish known in Japanese as nameroh, quite literally “Lick It”. The name is not at all scabrous, but a reference to the deliciousness of the dish which allegedly makes some diners lick their plates clean. The filleted fish is mixed with fresh ginger, myouga root, sake, spring onion and a touch of miso, before being chopped very fine into a paste. It eats fine as-is, but some diners like to drizzle a little rice vinegar over it or even soy sauce. If this pounded fish-paste is stuffed into an abalone shell and grilled over a fire, it is known as sanga-yaki.
After a hot sunny day on the water, Okinawan beer went down very well with the aji. For some reason my local store has started stocking this beer.
Aji fishing usually leaves the angler with some fish left over after his evening meal, and this time was no exception. I cured the fish overnight and sun-dried them next morning. This time the fish were dried as fillets though they are more often made bone-in.
Thanks as always to Benten-ya, sailing from Kanazawa Hakkei, Kanagawa.