Spanish Mackerel dishes, two kinds サバの味噌煮と竜田揚げ

japanese cake
We bought a whole Spanish mackerel from our nearby gourmet grocery store. Again, the exact Japanese name for Spanish Mackerel is unclear but  I will just call it “saba” 鯖 さば. Certainly it looks and taste like one. I asked the fishmonger to just gut the fish. I made miso-ni 味噌煮 simmered in miso sauce (left) and tatsuta-fry 竜田揚げ.

I made the miso simmered mackerel in the morning and reheated it just before serving. Then I fried up the marinated tatsuta mackerel. This one was well seasoned and did not require any sauce just a bit of lemon juice.

I garnished the miso simmered mackerel with thin julienne of ginger or “hari shouga” 針生姜 and thinly sliced scallion.

Preparation of the fish:

This was a rather large mackerel. I filleted it “sanmai-ni-orosu” or sliced it into three layers (two layers of fillets and one layer of backbone and head). I removed the belly portion and also removed the meat under the fins since there are many small bones under the fins. Using a Japanese bone tweezer, I removed any small bones which remained.

I cut the pieces into rectangles and scored the skin so it wouldn’t break during cooking. I divided the pieces into two groups. I simmered one group in miso sauce and the other I fried into tatsuta.

1. Mackerel braised in miso sauce サバの味噌煮

Ingredients:

Mackerel, one fillet, cut into rectangles with the skin shallowly scored. 

300 ml water

100 ml sake

5tbs miso

3tbs sugar

4 slices of ginger

Directions:

I placed the water and sake with the ginger slices in a frying pan and brought it to a boil. I placed the mackerel in with skin side up. I removed some liquid and used it to dissolve a mixture of miso and sugar. Once dissolved I added it back to the pan (#1) and turned down the flame to simmer. I placed the otoshibuta (my usual silicone lid) on top (#2).

I simmered it until the sauce became thick and clung to the fish (for about 45 minutes to 1 hour) (#3).

2. Mackrel tatsuta fry 鯖の竜田揚げ

Ingredients:

Mackerel, one fillet, cut into rectangles.

Soy sauce and mirin (1:1 ratio)

1 tsp grated ginger

Potato starch for dredging

Oil for deep frying

Directions:

In a Ziploc bag, I marinated the mackerel for several hours in the refrigerator. 

I blotted the excess marinade using paper towels and dredged the pieces in the potato starch (#4).

I deep fried it in 350F oil for a few minutes turning once (#6).

Both dishes were quite good but we liked the miso flavored one best. Although these two dishes are good drinking snacks, we had them with rice. Especially the miso-ni was best on the rice (OTR). We were pleasantly surprised that the Spanish mackerel we got was very fresh and the resulting dishes were great.

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