NIPPONIA No. 47 December 15, 2008
Special FeatureSushi! Sushi! Sushi!
Greater amberjack (kampachi)
The Japanese name for this fish changes as it grows, from hiramasa (when young in summer) to kampachi (autumn), then buri (winter).
Spotted gizzard shad (kohada)
The more skillful the sushi chef, the better he or she will adjust the tang of the vinegar and the bite of the salt. Kohada fry, called shinko, are only eaten in summer.
When used for sushi, this fish is often marinated in vinegar. The taste of vinegar acts admirably as a counterbalance for the nice fatty flavor.
Stuffed with sushi rice containing a mixture of kampyo gourd strips, ginger, nori seaweed and yuzu citron peel. When served in this traditional Edo-mae style, called inro-zume.
Ark shell (aka-gai)
The vivid red color whets the appetite. The soft texture and the full-flavored sweetness make this a popular choice at the sushi counter.
After raw slices are placed on clumps of rice, soy sauce and sudachi citrus juice are dribbled on top. Has a refreshing taste, living up to the appearance of the semitransparent flesh.
The Edo-mae recipe calls for pieces to be boiled in salted water. The more you chew, the sweeter it gets.
Sea urchin (uni)
Served as a topping on gunkan-maki (sushi rice wrapped in nori seaweed). Mesmerizing sweet flavor with the fragrance of the seashore.
Each part of the fish has a different taste. The red lean flesh (used for this serving) has a nice fragrance, while the fatty toro flesh offers a richer flavor.
Japanese tiger prawn (kuruma ebi)
The contrasting red and white colors and the elegant shape are pleasing to the eye. The prawns are boiled, then slit open. Oboro is placed between the topping and the sushi rice.
Omelet made at a sushi bar is in a world of its own: light, sweet and moist, with bits of minced white fish and shrimp.
Gourd strip roll (kampyo-maki)
Kampyo gourd strips in nori-maki (sushi rice rolled in nori seaweed). The dried strips were soaked in water, then simmered in a sweet and salty broth. The sweetness, tang and fragrant seaweed make a nice balance.