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
Mackerel, one fillet, cut into rectangles with the skin shallowly scored.
300 ml water
100 ml sake
4 slices of ginger
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
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
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.