Drop-lidotoshi buta, substitute: aluminum foil or parchment paper with several half inch holes
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Let’s prepare the saba, mackerel fillet. With kitchen tweezers, remove the small bones from the middle of the fillet.
Flip the mackerel over, cut it in half and make a shallow diagonal cut in the skin of each piece.
Add water to a large amount of boiling water to bring it just below the boiling point. With a mesh strainer, submerge a piece of mackerel into the hot water. When the surface turns white, immediately drop it into a bowl of ice water. Repeat this process for the other piece of mackerel.
Gently rinse the surface of the fillet and remove the moisture thoroughly with a paper towel. This process will help remove the fishy smell and clean the surface.
Let’s simmer the mackerel. Combine the water, sake, sugar and mirin in a pan. Dissolve half of the miso in a ladle and then distribute it into the mixture. Turn on the burner and bring it to a boil.
Place the fillet into the miso sauce with the skin side facing up. A pan or shallow pot is easy to use when simmering fish. Bring the sauce to a boil again and remove the foam with a mesh strainer.
Drop in the ginger root slices and the green part of the long green onion. The onion will help cover the fishy smell.
Place the dampened wooden drop-lid called otoshi buta onto the fillet to help it cook evenly. Simmer for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Uncover and remove the long green onion. Ladle the broth into a bowl and dissolve the rest of the miso and then distribute it back into the pan. Adding the miso in 2 steps will help prevent the miso from losing its aroma.
Add the bell pepper, cover and simmer for 2 to 3 more minutes.
Uncover and remove the bell pepper before it fades in color. Ladle the miso sauce over the fillet and reduce the sauce without the drop-lid.
Turn off the burner and place the fillet onto a plate. Put the bell pepper next to it and ladle the miso sauce over the mackerel. Finally, garnish with the shiraganegi, the shredded white part of the long green onion.
For the drop-lid you can substitute aluminum foil or parchment paper with several half inch holes. In that case, you should place some kind of small weight on top, for example a light plate.
We are cooking easily available frozen salmon to make Yakizuke, in which the main ingredient is grilled first and then marinated. This is a local dish in Niigata Prefecture and it was originally made at home to preserve fresh salmon which are caught in that area.
Let’s make the marinade. In a small pot, combine the sake and the mirin. Turn on the burner. Bring it to a boil and let the alcohol evaporate until you can’t smell it anymore. Pour the mixture onto a plate.
Add the vinegar, yuzu citrus juice, dashi kombu seaweed, dried red chili pepper and soy sauce. You can use any type of sour citrus juice instead of the yuzu juice. Stir to mix.
Make numerous cuts along the long green onion diagonally. The small cuts will help it to absorb the flavor and also help soften the texture. Then, cut the onion into 4cm (1.6") pieces. As for the bell pepper, cut it the same size as the onion.
Let’s make the Salmon Yakizuke. Add the sake to the salmon. And coat both sides evenly.
Add the vegetable oil to a pan. Turn on the burner and add the long green onion and the bell pepper. Stir-fry the vegetables. You can also use asparagus, snap peas, onion or mushrooms instead.
Now, the vegetables are deliciously browned. Place them into the marinade.
With a paper towel, remove the moisture from the salmon. Then, using a mesh strainer, sprinkle all purpose flour on both sides. This will help to create a nicely browned surface and also absorb the marinade.
Add oil again and reheat the pan. Place the salmon into the pan. Saute the top side first so that you can present a beautifully browned surface. Occasionally shake the pan to brown evenly. Cover and saute on low heat.
When the bottom is golden brown, flip it over. Brown the other side. You can also grill the salmon to give the skin a crisp texture, making the dish more delicious. Now, it is ready.
Place the salmon onto the plate. Spoon the marinade over the ingredients and let them sit until cool.
Now, the Yakizuke has absorbed the flavor. Place the kombu seaweed and a piece of long green onion onto a plate. Then, lean the salmon against them.
Garnish with the bell pepper and the long green onion. Finally, spoon the marinade over the salmon.
You can enjoy the dish immediately or keep it in the fridge for several hours to help it absorb more delicious flavor.
The kombu seaweed did an excellent job! The dish absorbed the flavor well and it goes great with steamed rice.