This is a repeat of last year but we were again lucky enough to receive the shipment of sashimi from Catalina offshore products on December 31. This time we got fresh farm raised “Toro”, which had “akami” 赤身, chutoro 中トロ and Ootoro 大トロ on it. In addition, we got anikimo, uni, and salmon roe. Ootoro was quite good. In the picture, the left back is “namasu” なます大根 topped with salmon roe. This year, I added yuzu juice in addition to rice vinegar which added a nice flavor. The golden uni was also excellent as usual (right back).
I also served marinated salmon which is my mother’s recipe (right front). This salmon dish is called “Russian marinated salmon” ロシア漬け and my mother does not know how the dish got the name or where she got the recipe*. Of course, I made my contribution (read modification) to the recipe since I think the pith of the lemon imparts a bitter taste to the dish. Essentially, I slice fresh salmon (the original recipe uses salt preserved salmon “aramaki shake” 新巻鮭) fillet paper thin, layered with sliced onion, lemon zest (grated by a micrograter), lemon slices (without the rind and pith). As I lay on the new salmon layer I salt it. The marinade is a mixture of sake, vegetable oil and rice vinegar (1:1:3) but I reduced the amount of oil. I tightly pack the salmon in a sealable container and let it marinade for a few days. The picture below is this dish served stand alone on the next day.
When I made the salmon dish described above, I removed the skin with a bit of the meat attached. Using the skin, I made salmon skin rolls as a “shime” dish. This is a very popular hand roll item in the U.S. but I do not know if any sushi bars in Japan serve this. We like it very much. It is very simple to make, I cooked the salmon skin seasoned with salt, in a frying pan instead of a toaster oven (which is how most sushi bars in the U.S. cook the salmon skin). The skin should be nicely crunchy. I cut the cooked crispy skin into long strips. I used a half sheet of nori crisped up by passing over the gas flame. I smeared real wasabi, added sushi rice, perilla leaf, julienned cucumber and several strips of the salmon skin and made it into a cone shaped hand roll as seen below.
This is a very nice end to your new year’s day Izakaya feast.
* I googled (google.co.jp) “鮭のロシア漬け” the marinated salmon recipe and found this blog (in Japanese). The recipe is a very similar to my mother’s. According to this blogger, her mother got the recipe from a Japanese magazine “Kurashi no techo” 暮らしの手帖. The recipe is reportedly published in the section called “Apron memo” quite a number of years ago, although the exact year is unclear. Even though the blogger mentioned the recipe was published some time ago, I was eating this as a kid and it is possible my mother’s recipe predates even that publication.