Our Izakaya substitute “Tako Grill” is in the process of moving to a new location. It will be reopening sometime in April, so we have to get our sushi and sashimi fixes somewhere else. One such source is “Kanpai Shushi” (Tako grill’s sister take-out and catering sushi place). We have had a few take-outs as well as party sushi platters from there. Nonetheless we are anxiously awaiting the opening of the new Tako. Another source of sashimi is our local Japanese grocery store. One weekend we found frozen Katsuo tataki カツオのたたき at the Japanese grocery store and we had to try it.
Although this was frozen, it appears to have been seared using straw, which is very traditional, as some soot still clung to one side. I served it with finely chopped scallion including the green parts, thinly sliced garlic and grated ginger root, as you see above. For sauce, either soy sauce or ponzu sauce would be the standard but I made a hybrid sauce by mixing ponzu sauce (from a bottle) and soy sauce (about 1:1) which I served in a small glass on the slide.
This was more than enough fish for two as a staring dish. One thin slice of garlic on a slice of the bonito with the scallion and ginger dipped in the sauce really makes this so tasty. My wife was a bit skeptical about the raw garlic at the beginning (despite the fact she had eaten this many times before-although on those occasions the garlic is grated) but she had to agree with me that this was the best way to enjoy this.
The above is how this bonito tataki came vacuum packed. I simply let it thaw in the refrigerator for several hours and sliced it into half inch thick pieces at a slightly slanted angle.
We had this dish outside on the patio under the heater and an alpaca throw blanket. It was one of the, recently rare, relatively warm days–although it was a bit windy. After a relatively harsh cold winter we are finally seeing signs that spring is just around the corner. Our plum tree, which has been know to bloom in late January or February braving passing snowstorms has just now started blooming (the 1st week of April).
Cold sake went very well with the bonito tataki (and stayed perfectly chilled through out the evening just sitting on the table). We actually opened the American brewed Yamada-nishiki Daiginjou “Shouchikubai” (this is new sake for this year). It is indeed the real daiginjou made from California Yamada Nishiki brew in California which rivals any decent daigin from Japan.
We braved the descending cold and dark by also grilling Hamachi collar and other items over the hibachi grill. It was just so nice to spend the evening outside (We suspected that there were not many people in our neighborhood enjoying the evening and early taste of spring the way we were). Also the first Japanese hibachi grilling session of the season is always a “red-letter” celebration.