Seasonal Fishes 11: Mackerel/Saba

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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saba1.jpg

Mackerel or saba is fish eaten over the whole Northern Hemisphere and does come under many varieties and names.
In Japan it is mainly called “Saba”, “Masaba” or “Sekisaba”.
Herre it is mainly caught off Oita, Saga Prefecture, although quite a few are caught off our coasts. They feed on plankton mainly.
saba-yaizu.jpg
(mackerel catch in Yaizu Harbour)
They are prepared and cooked in many guises. In France, my birthplace they are steamed and then pickled in white wine and spices. In Northern Europe they also eaten half raw as smorgasbrod and pickled fish.
It can be appreciated as sashimi, but it must be absolutely fresh and is best served with grated fresh ginger and lemon:
saba2.jpg
As far as sushi is concerned, “masaba” variety is best:
saba3.jpg
It is especially popular as “oshizushi” (pressed sushi).
My prefernce goes for konbu zume saba. the mackerel is kept inside a variety of wet seaweed for an hour or so before put whole on top of a long “bar” of rice, then cut to size:
saba-sushi.jpg
(picture taken at Tomii estaurant, Shizuoka City)

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