First, let’s clean the fresh aji, or horse mackerel. Lightly rinse the fish under running water.
As shown, place the aji on the cutting board covered with a sheet of paper. Remove the excess water with a paper towel.
Make a deep diagonal cut along the base of the side or pectoral fin.
Flip it over and cut off the head diagonally.
Make a shallow cut along the belly.
Remove the innards using the knife. For easy cleanup, wrap the innards in the paper to dispose of it.
Thoroughly rinse the inside under running water.
Place the aji on a plate covered with a paper towel.
And now, let’s fillet the aji. Remove the excess moisture from the inside, and outside using a paper towel.
Place the aji diagonally on a cutting board to make it easier to fillet. While tilting the blade, make a shallow angled cut along the belly.
Then, make a deeper horizontal cut as shown.
Rotate the aji 180 degrees and repeat the process.
Insert the knife into the tail end.
And slide the blade along the backbone toward the head, removing the fillet.
Then, detach the fillet from the tail fin.
Flip the rest of the aji over.
Make a shallow angled cut along the back and then a deeper horizontal cut.
Rotate it 180 degrees and repeat as before.
Insert the knife into the tail end, hold the tail fin and slide the blade along the backbone, removing the other fillet.
Finally, detach it from the tail fin.
Remove the rib bones from both fillets.
Make a shallow cut along the end of the rib bones and then shave them off.
Next, remove the small bones from the center of the fillets. Pinch the small bone with kitchen tweezers and pull it out toward the head.
Touch the center of the fillets with your fingers to make sure there aren’t any bones left.
Now, let’s remove the skin. First, peel the skin back with your hands, making a place to hold.
Place the back of the blade between the fillet and the skin.
And push it toward the tail, removing the skin.
Likewise, peel the skin from the other fillet.
Finally, cut the fillets into sashimi pieces. Make two shallow cuts lengthwise in the fillet.
Using a long knife such as a sashimi knife, pull the blade across the fillet to cut it into bite-size pieces.
Make shallow diagonal cuts in the other fillet, making a diamond pattern.
Likewise, cut the fillet into bite-size pieces.
Place the sashimi onto a plate garnished with the shredded daikon, shiso leaves and seaweed salad.
Rinse the head and tail thoroughly and place them next to the sashimi as a dramatic garnish emphasizing the freshness of the dish.
The fresh aji we used had firm flesh and a moderate amount of fat making it exceptionally delicious.
Try Aji sashimi lightly dipped in a mixture of soy sauce and wasabi or if you find wasabi is too strong try soy sauce and grated ginger.