Friday, September 05, 2008

TLA #4 - Finally! Fresh Catch Sashimi -


Kasumi Aji (Young Bluefin Trevally) Sashimi

As a beginner angler, I have several short-term goals, and "catching a fish that is good for sashimi (sliced raw fish)" was one of them. When you say a fish is good for sashimi, it means that the fish is fresh, decent size and tastes good with not-too-many tiny bones and with no disturbing smell/fishiness. Oh, wait! Let me take back the remark about the size, because we Japanese are meticulous sashimi freaks and make sashimi out of tiny fish like sardines or even silver-stripe round herrings (and believe me, those small-fish sashimi are often so good that it is worth the trouble). But in general, "a fish good for sashimi" sounds much more prestigious than some bony, smelly ones.

Now I can hear some angler readers going, "What?! Bluefin trevally sashimi?! Give me a break. You Japanese make sashimi out of anything, don't you?" Well, live and learn. ;) Over here, we can catch young trevallies including Giant Trevally (GT), and some people are crazy about them because they pull hard for their size and taste good. They have a good reputation as sashimi fish. Yeah, I heard that those trevallies grow really big and some of the big ones could cause ciguatera poisoning, so I can imagine how strange this idea of making sashimi out of them may look/sound to some anglers outside Japan. But the young trevallies caught here are not poisonous. Don't worry. :)

Anyway, I went fishing last weekend and caught one young bluefin trevally. It was like a joke... I threw in the bait and caught this one right away. Then no more catch... :( I managed to catch just one more fish before going home and that was it. But I achieved one of my short-term goals, so it was worth going fishing that day, after all.

BTW, you might have heard that only fresh fish is good for sashimi, and the fresher the better. But if asked if this is true, I would say "Well... yes and no." I've read that the "good taste" of fish is caused by inosinic acid contained in the flesh of the fish, which needs some time to increase after the fish died. So some (not all) fish taste much better as sashimi after they were filleted and left in the fridge for several hours to develop more inosinic acid. That sounds pretty convincing. So I let the fillet rest in my fridge for apx. 10 hours.


But I was not too crazy about this sashimi, to tell you the truth. It tasted very good in the beginning, but for some reason, I felt "enough" when I ate about half of it. I don't know why... Maybe I was still worried (unconsciously) about the poison??


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8 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

It looks delicious!

Cheers,

Rosa

OkiHwn said...

Growing up in Hawaii this fish is a real treat! When young it's called papio. Older and much bigger it's called ulua. They can get up to 100 pounds.

The papio are great steamed Chinese-style, the smaller ones are great just pan-fried and eaten with some shoyu. My mother always served it as sahimi (she didn't like red meat fish).

Here, where I am now, in Okinawa it's called gara. The seasonal run is just starting now.

Gabriel said...

Congratulations Obachan! The sashimi looks so professionally made! I am really jealous~

Marie said...

Congratulations on your sashimi catch! I have no idea what bluefin trevally tastes like, but your photos per usual are fantastic. Here's to more fish-suitable-for-sashimi! :)

K and S said...

way to go!

grace said...

nice.. i love sashimi!

Marisa Baggett said...

Wow. This looks very beautiful. I've never used this fish before but I wonder if wrapping the filets in konbu for a while before cutting into pieces or doing a quick salt treatment would have extended the enjoyment?

obachan said...

Rosa
Thanks. I wonder if people in your country ever eat sashimi.

Okihwn
Steamed! Never thought about it but it must be good. :D
I love to find out how people in other countries eat the same fish differently. It's so interesting.

Gabriel
Oh, thanks for the compliment, but actually it's far from professional work. To tell you the truth, I can never cut anything straight or in the same size, and some slices are thicker than others... :P

Marie
Wow, thanks! Now I'm much more motivated ;D

K & S
Thanks.

Grace
Glad to hear that.:)

Marisa Baggett
I've heard about wrapping with konbu to enhance the umami taste of sashimi, but I'm very, very skeptical about the salt treatment -- wouldn't it take the moisture and umami away from the raw fillet?