Pan-fried Pacific Saury with Shiso and Pickled Plums

28Sep09

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Pacific saury– called sanma in Japanese, and sometimes marketed as “mackerel pike” — is my absolute favorite fish of all, especially if it’s in season (autumn). Saury is one of those fish, like fresh sardines (iwashi), that lose their freshness very quickly, and if it has to be shipped any distance at all, it’s basically ruined for sashimi or sushi. Fortunately, freezing technology has improved to such an extent that saury can now be eaten year-round, even as sashimi.

But the most common way the Japanese eat sanma is sprinkled with salt and grilled, then served with grated daikon radish or ponzu (soysauce mixed with citrus juice), and accompanied by a bowl of steaming rice. This is what we call “comfort food” where I live. Pacific saury is rich in EPA and DHA, the “good fats” that aid in the prevention of heart disease.

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Here is one of the ways I cook saury for my family, and it’s always a hit.

Pan-fried Pacific Saury with ume-boshi and shiso:

4 saury, fileted to make eight strips
8 soft ume-boshi (red pickled plums), minced
8 green shiso leaves, cut in half lengthwise
some katakuriko (potato starch) or cornstarch

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Dust the filets with starch, then cover each filet with two halves of shiso leaf. Spread 1 minced ume-boshi (or 1/8 of all the minced ume-boshi) on the right half of each filet (on top of one of the half-leaves of shiso). Then fold the left half of the filet over the right half, and fry all of the folded filets in a heated, lightly oiled pan. DO NOT try to move or flip the filets over until they move freely in the pan when you shake it. Then turn each filet over and cook until that side also moves freely in the pan when you shake it. It shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes on each side. Remove the fish from the pan and drain on a rack or paper towel.

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2 Responses to “Pan-fried Pacific Saury with Shiso and Pickled Plums”


  1. 1 Pacific Saury Tartlets « Itadakimasu!
  2. 2 Umeboshi Cheesecake « Itadakimasu!

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