This is the second time I got frozen “aji” or jack mackerel and decide to make three appetizers like I did before. I thought one had to be namerou なめろう(left) but I used a different kind of miso which made it quite different from the one I made previously. I also made “nanban” 南蛮 (middle) and “goma-saba” 胡麻鯖 (right). I served this in some newly acquired small bowls.
The picture below is “goma-saba” which is a similar combination of flavors to the one I made before but because of the way it was cut and the additional topping, it looked and tasted different.
This is “nanban”. The fish was deep fried first and marinated in spicy sweet vinegar.
Finally, our favorite “namerou”. This time I made
it with “red miso” or aka-miso 赤味噌.
After I thawed the package of “Aji” or jack mackerel in the refrigerator overnight, I washed it in cold water and blotted it dry between paper towels. I saturated a sheet of paper towel with rice vinegar and placed the fish fillets on the towel then covered them with another sheet of paper towel. I sprinkled rice vinegar on the top towel until it was saturated and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. This time, instead of cutting off the center, I removed the small bones from the center line using a Japanese bone tweezers.
1. Gama-saba 胡麻鯖 or Goma-aji (胡麻鯵).
This preparation is famous in Fukuoka which is located in the southernmost island of Kyushu. Although the fish I used may not be exactly same as “ma-saba” マサバ, it is close enough considering my limited supply of fish of any kind. The flavor profile is very similar to what I made before (marinated in soy sauce and then covered with roasted white sesame seeds) but the way the fish was sliced and the premixed sauce made a difference. The sauce is a mixture of dry roasted and ground up white sesame seeds (1 tbs), soy sauce 2 tbs) and mirin 2 tbs). The fish was cut into thin strips and marinaded in the sauce for 15 minutes in the refrigerator. I garnished it with thin nori strips, julienne of perilla leaves and roasted sesame seeds.
2. Aji anaban 鯵の南蛮
I made it exactly the same as the other nanban dishes. I first prepared sweet vinegar marinade (2/3 cup sweet vinegar, 1/4 dashi broth, mirin and light colored soy sauce (1 tbs each) and red pepper flakes. I added julienne of sweet onion, celery, and carrot while the marinade was still warm and let it marinate until I was ready to fry the fish. I blotted the fish fillets dry and dredged with potato starch and fried in oil. While the fish was hot, I placed it in the marinade and made sure the fish was covered with marinade and vegetables.
3. Aji namerou 鯵のなめろう
I chopped fish, red miso, perilla leaves, scallion together. I also added small amount of mirin to adjust the consistency and also the taste. I served it with perilla flower buds or “ho jiso” 穂ジソ since they were available in our herb garden.
All three dishes are great for cold sake. The namerou was a bit on the salty side since I used red miso but had a nice nutty miso flavor which is better than the kouji miso I used before. The nanban was also very good. The fried potato starch crust became soft and gave rise to a nice texture. We liked the goma-saba preparation a bit better than “goma-mabush” I made previously. I’m sure our new Arita-kirn 有田焼 bowls added an additional “something” to our enjoyment of the dishes.