Now is the season for cuttlefish-fishing here in Tokyo. I never grow tired of it, or of eating them. This time round, I had four kinds of sashimi to start with:
For me, off-cuts/scraps such as sashimi trimmings, tentacle-ends and nozzles, are mixed with hot chilli oil and the livers of the cuttlefish extruded into the pan. I am the only person in my house who eats this:
A more conventional dish: spaghetti dressed with cuttlefish, mentaiko and sliced shiso leaves.
Few things are as tasty or better suited to ending a long day of
sitting in the sun drinking beer fishing as cuttlefish ink risotto; or rather, crni rižot, made according to the recipe of regular blog reader Maninas (thank you!).
Guess where I’ve been!
No eunuchs, Morris dancers or even bearded ladies appeared at my house, but I did want to upload some photos of cuttlefish cooking on the day. First things first, on Captain Ohta’s recommendation I made a dish of cuttlefish legs braised in mashed cuttlefish livers, chilli oil and sake – a heady dish that brought gout to mind.
After this there was a salad of raw cuttlefish, onions and peppers with Sicilian green dressing (finely chopped coriander leaf and capers, olive oil, vinegar) which perhaps offset the unhealthiness of the previous dish.
The day’s proceedings were brought to an end by a stir-fry of cuttlefish and vegetables in XO and yellow bean jian.
Of course breakfast next day was cuttlefish! Mixed with natto and a raw egg and shiso leaves: death to some, Ambrosia to others…
apart from the obvious (being snatched and dragged into the depths of the sea by the Kraken, thus avenging his cephalod brothers). The cuttlefish squirt a lot of water and, a lot of ink. In fact in Japanese this species of cuttlefish is simply called “ink-squid”. The ink gave a slight tang to my shochu mixer but I drank it anyway, but I am afraid the can holder/cooler will never be the same again.
Great day out on the water today. Many thanks as always to Captain Ohta of the Asanagimaru (and for the photo too)! More photos to come when I have finished eating/drinking.
Cutlassfish is one of those remarkable ingredients like cuttlefish, that eats well no matter how you prepare it. My favourites include as sushi and grilled, and I indulged in both as I was very lucky on the water, despite it being the 13th. First dish up was steaks of cutlassfish sprinkled with salt and then grilled under the cooker grill, and flavoured four ways (from top to bottom): with summer truffle-salt, with Sichuan pepper, with Italian porcini-salt and lastly a mixture of mayonnaise and wasabi. All were washed down with very cold white wine.
Next in line was cutlassfish sushi. The cutlassfish fillet is cut into strips which are lightly grilled before being flavoured with salt, wasabi and squeezed yuzu juice – no soy sauce is needed in the eating.
More sushi followed…
With a bottle each of white and red wine and some sundry beers over the course of the preparing and eating, my memory becomes a little indistinct after these dishes, but I still have plenty of fillets left over for today as well, and some vacuum-packed and ready to be given to friends. These days I don’t get out to sea as often as I used to so I appreciate each trip more! Thanks as always to a Bentenya, Kanazawa Hakkei, for the great day’s fishing.
A very good day out on the water cuttlefish-fishing. A Thermos flask of strong coffee, doubly-shotted with Bajun rum, kept my spirits up and I was treated to a fantastic observation of Mars and Saturn in the morning, before sunrise. I took a brace of cuttlefish and on the way out spotted a magnificent specimen of P. haliaetus snatching fish at the water’s edge, and could see a snow-capped Mt. Fuji looking regal over the Bay all day long.
The combination of hot coffee and my trusty Guernsey frock kept the cold out – it was about 2°C at dawn – and I even got sunburnt by the day’s end. Proceedings were completed with a Japanese hot bath and a few bumpers of Madeira whilst I prepared Korean-style cuttlefish (ojingu jeot) and a dish of cuttlefish in tomato and ink pasta sauce.
The chilli-cuttlefish came with quite a punch, and I look forward to being able to make this again in the future. The pasta was highly acceptable too, and a couple of cans of distilled rice spirit saw off the end of the meal.
On an unrelated note, an unusual piece of Japanese scrimshaw (seaman’s carved whalebone) came into my possession, a multi-layered inro box. The reverse is somewhat adult-oriented so I did not photograph it, but it is always gratifying to own a piece of maritime history, especially one so niche as this.