The final part of my Kyushu adventure…the eating of the catch. I must thank Nigel for letting me use his kitchen and for doing all the washing up.
Itoyori (rear) and madai (front) sashimi. It is very unusual to be able to eat itoyori as sashimi (I have never once seen it on offer at a restaurant here) so it is a fisherman’s luxury. The madai was of course, quite excellent; incomparable to the slimey farmed rubbish that you get in supermarkets and most restaurants.
Whilst chumming for Japanese jack mackerel in Toyama, as bycatch I took five red sea bream: the so-called ‘King of the Sea’ here in Japan. However they were but babies, no more than 15cm or so in length, and release size. Sadly, three of them suffered from decompression of their swimbladders, resulting in certain internal organs being forced out of their body. Since these fish would without question die, I kept them to consume at home. Red sea bream is a delicious fish, regardless of the size, but since these were too small to eat as sashimi or grilled, I instead slow-boiled them whole and made a dish known in Japanese as nikogori. The bones are rendered from the fish to make a rich broth into which the flesh of the fish is added, along with a little sake and soy sauce, then the whole mixture poured in a shallow glass dish and refrigerated. As the mixture cools, the collagen from the fish bones and skin congeals to form a solid jelly, that is rich and luxurious in texture. Cheaper and more ordinary restaurants make a version with stingray or conger eel that is artificially hardened with animal gelatin: made from sea bream, this is a highly prized dish that commands a high price in restaurants. It is a most pleasant foil to cool sake or wine.