Sanma no Tataki (Pacific Saury Tartare)


Pacific Saury (sanma) is my Absolutely Favorite fish in the Whole Wide World (salmon is in second place by a hair’s breadth), and when it is in season, sashimi is the absolutely best way to eat it. Like sardines, saury is a fish that deteriorates quickly, so whether you buy it fresh or frozen, you have to be sure to get saury that is marked for sashimi. Saury sashimi makes great sushi too, but my current favorite way of eating fresh saury is tataki. Tataki–as it applies to this recipe– can be defined as a method of preparing fresh fish by chopping it finely with a knife, and seasoning it with ginger, green onions, and sometimes shiso, garlic, or miso.

It can be served as an accompaniment to sake or with a bowl of rice, but recently I experimented with it as a “topping” for chilled soba (buckwheat) noodles, and it was such a hit that it is now a permanent part of my saury repertoire.

Ingredients (for 2~3 servings)
fresh or frozen pacific saury, marked for sashimi….2
naga-imo (Chinese yam)…3-4 inch segment
fresh ginger root….1 smallish knob
green onion…..2 or 3
miso…..1 tablespoon
mirin…..1 tablespoon (or 1/2 tablespoon mirin + 1/2 tablespoon sake)
soy sauce….1/2 teaspoon
dashi (fish stock) granules….1/2 teaspoon
soba noodles (boil enough for 2~3 servings)

1. Slit the belly of the fish and clean out the guts. Rinse quickly. Filet the fish, removing the center bone and side bones. Insert a knife between the skin and the flesh at the tail end, and pushing the knife deeper, gently pull the flesh away from the skin. If you aren’t comfortable with this part, ask your fishmonger to do it for you. Mince the fish finely, but not so finely that there’s nothing to bite into.

2. Blend the miso, mirin, and soy sauce together in a medium bowl.

3. Chop the green onions. Peel, then finely grate the ginger. Add these to the bowl above. Add the minced fish to the bowl and mix well with the seasonings.

4. Peel and finely grate the naga-imo. Add dashi granules (chicken bouillon granules can be substituted) and blend well.

5. Spoon some of the grated, seasoned naga-imo and some of the saury tataki over each serving of cooked soba noodles. Each person may stir the topping into the noodles before eating.

The sliminess of the grated yam makes the noodles go down smoothly even without any soup to go with it. The ginger, green onions, and miso give the tataki a marvelously complex flavor that complements the flavor of the saury itself. I usually use the light-colored shiro-miso (“white” miso) which tends to be less salty than other kinds of miso. If you use a saltier miso, you may want to omit the soy sauce.


2 Responses to “Sanma no Tataki (Pacific Saury Tartare)”

  1. Super-Duper web site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking your feed even, Thanks.

  2. Glad you dropped by. šŸ˜€

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