The other day, we were in the near-by Wholefoods store. We always look to see what kind of whole fresh fish is available. My wife wanted mackerel since she really like mackerel in miso sauce (サバの味噌煮) but they did not have it. Instead, we saw two relatively small blue fish which were the last they had. I am not sure if there is any Japanese name or similar fish in Japan. The meat is soft and has a slightly blueish tinge. It also has a rather strong taste and is considered a fairly “low-class” fish and is often used as bait for larger fish by game fishermen. We have smoked this fish before which made it rather palatable. We thought these characteristics were somewhat similar to mackerel and decided it may be good to cook it in miso sauce.
I garnished it with chopped chives and thin julienne of ginger.
It looks very similar to mackerel as we hoped it would.
It is essentially cooked the same as mackerel.
Bluefish, two, about 10 inches, gutted and head off (#1)
300 ml water
100 ml sake
4 slices of ginger
Scale and cut two fillets removing the center layer of bone (#3). this is called “Sanmai-ni-orosu” 三枚におろす.
Remove the belly portion and any bones especially under the dorsal fin (#3).
Cut the filet into 3 pieces and score the skin to prevent the skin from breaking while cooking (#4).
Put the sake, water, and ginger in the pan and add the fish with the skin side up when the liquid starts simmering(#5).
Cook for few minutes and mix the miso, sugar and loosen it by adding the simmering liquid and then add the miso mixture (#6).
Covered it with a silicon “otoshibuta” and cook 30-40 minutes.
Remove the lid and reduce the sauce for 5-10 minutes until the miso sauce become think and clingy.
So, we found out, bluefish can be substituted for mackerel for this dish. It tasted almost identical and if you were not told, you could not tell the difference.