* The author of this post does not recommend sake-drinking to anyone who has not reached the legal drinking age or who should not consume alcohol due to medical/psychological concerns.
No, I haven’t forgotten about this project. How could I? ;) This sake was what I enjoyed last Sunday night, after enjoying those cream puffs in the afternoon.
BTW, I don’t remember if I mentioned this before, but I do make moderate use of what we call “2 channel,” a Japanese internet forum conglomerate(?) which is said to be the largest in the world. (Now I’m so happy that English Wikipedia has this nice coverage of 2ch! :D) When I started this “Sake to Sakana” series, I stepped into the wild jungle of 2ch and found a couple of extremely informative forums about sake and appetizers. Those threads are still my favorite and I browse them once in a while. This sake, Kubota 久保田 was one of those brands that so many people recommended to sake beginners. Also Mr. John Gaunter includes this Kubota in his list of “super popular sake” on his wonderful site, Sake-world.com. So I had been wanting to try this brand for quite a while, and I almost jumped with joy when I found 720 mL bottles of Kubota at EAON shopping mall.
Unfortunately what I found was “Senju 千寿” rank of Kubota, the less expensive honjozo 本醸造 version, not ginjo 吟醸 or daiginjo 大吟醸. (The junmai daiginjo 純米大吟醸 version is named "Manju 萬寿 Kubota", and costs apx. three times more.) But I was determined to try the one I found anyway.
The impression I had at my first sip of this Kubota was “Gosh, this is SWEET!” It was almost “creamy” sweetness that I had never tasted before. The distinctive (at least, to me) sweetness was followed by a pleasant sensation right after, which I liked very much. But I couldn’t help wondering, “Is this what they call ‘light and dry’?” because the impression of the sweetness was too strong.
Then I warmed it, as I always do to see the changes in the taste at different temperatures. It WAS interesting. I think first I warmed up this sake to be a little warmer than body temperature, and I thought I felt the sensation stronger than the sweetness. Then as it cooled down to be about body temperature or a bit cooler, it got to the point where the sweetness and the sensation were felt almost simultaneously, making a very pleasant harmony. So my conclusion is: I like this sake lukewarm (Nurukanぬる燗).
This is an appetizer made with salmon, which I don’t know how to call. I saw it on TV Saturday morning and immediately decided to try it out, because everyone appeared in the program said it was great. I gave it a little twist of my own, though.
150 g Salmon fillet
3 or 4 cm Shironegi (white leek??)
2/3 to 1 Tbsp miso
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp sake
A few drops light soy sauce
A pinch corn starch
White sesame seeds for topping
Chop samlon fillet in small chunks. Slice Shironegi. Mince salmon and shironegi together until they turn into a coarse paste. Add the seasonings (miso, mirin, sake, light soy sauce and corn starch) and mince and mix. Repeat scooping up the paste with the knife and pushing it down onto the cutting board, until the seasonings are evenly mixed with the paste. Spread in a baking sheet or something lined with aluminum foil, sprinkle with white sesame seeds and bake until the top is appetizingly brown. Remove from the baking sheet, remove the foil and cut in rectangles.
In the TV program, they used miso only, but I wanted to add a little sweetness with mirin and sesame seeds. It might be good to sprinkle shichimi or sahsho pepper on top for extra flavor. I guess you could use food processor instead of mincing with a knife, but they say the knife-and-cutting-board method would bring out the salmon flavor better.
Another appetizer I enjoyed that night was this edamame-ten -- my recent favorite. It is edamame (green soybeans) mixed in white fish paste and deep-fried. Unfortunately this is not home-made… it’s one of the fish-cake products they sell at supermarkets. But it is so good with the natural sweetness and crunchiness of the beans.
Now I have to make an embarrassing confession for someone in the quest of good home-made appetizer recipes. To tell you the truth, I’m hooked on this combination of jagariko and sake. Jagariko is the name of potato crackers, and the one in the photo is a cheese-flavored version. I found this appetizer idea in one of the 2ch forums mentioned above, and I wish I didn’t. This is very dangerous… because with this crunchy potato crackers, I cannot stop munching and drinking… Definitely bad for health. Very bad… :O
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Posted by obachan at 11/14/2006 01:07:00 PM