Ayu (Sweetfish) and Sazae (Turban Shells)
Doesn't this combination look a little strange, because the sweetfish are from the river and the turban shells are from the ocean? The reason behind this combination was the usual: they were on sale on the same day at the same supermarket. (BTW, the supermarket is closing in about a month!! Who said the economy is recovering in Japan?! Shops keep closing here in Kochi, and in a few years, post offices in small villages will be gone. Is anything getting better???)
Anyway, to me sweetfish is one of the most beautiful fish among those we see in Japan. They say ugly fish taste good, but I think this sweetfish is the kind that looks elegant AND tastes wonderful. One of my childhood dreams was fishing sweetfish in the river (inspired by a manga about a boy who is a fishing genius), which I haven’t achieved yet. So when I found these fish on the shelf at an amazingly low price, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to try the idea of "shichirin night," (inspired by the post by Jason of Pursuing My Passions) with my favorite fish. In a nutshell, it is an attempt to grill food (on the balcony) on a small table-top grill called shichirin. In order to add a little variety to the food to be grilled, I grabbed a pack of these turban shells, which was also sitting on the shelf near the sweetfish.
I must confess that my attempt of shichirin night did not work out. Let's blame the charcoals. I didn’t bother to buy good charcoals, and when tried with those I had at home, it took forever to light them when I heated them on the gas stove in the kitchen. Even when I thought they were ready, they didn't stay hot for long and I had to come back to the kitchen to re-heat them. Finally I gave up on using shichirin after going back and forth between the balcony and kitchen several times. These sweet fish were grilled in my electric fish griller and the turban shells on the gas stove. And both tasted good! What a shame -- they must have tasted awesome if charbroiled!
This is what I got at the 100-yen shop the other day and I’m totally happy with this little purchase. It is a device to keep chilled sake cool on the table. The ice cubes in the pocket are supposed to cool the drink without making it watery. Doesn’t this look cute? ;)