Tag Archives: 日本料理

Sashimi Plate at Tomii (’09/06/22)


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

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TOMII-09-06-22

Just came from a “quick fix” at Tomii as I was too hungry to continue work! (I’m back at the office right now!)

Just ordered “o-tsukuri/Sashimi plate” as the calories are non-existent (the Missus is preparing dinner!).

FRom top clockwise:
-Madai/Japanese Snapper species
-Aburi Tachiuo/lightly grilled Scabbard Fish
Note the shiso/perilla flowers in between!
-Hata/Grouper
-Murasaki Uni/Violet Sea Urchi from Aomori Prefecture
-Hamo/Pike Conger Eel, lightly boiled
-Aka Ika-Kensaki Ika/Red cuttlefis-Squid
In the middle:
-Mebachi-maguro/ig-eyed Tuna Akami/lean part

I honestly wisjh you were all here!

Cuttlefish/Squid Species 5: Hotaru Ika/Firefly Squid-Sparkling Enope Squid


The Japan Blog List

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

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Here we go again with this series called “The Jacques Cousteau” upon suggestion by Jaded Fork and forBread + Butter, and Elin who don’t mind being on a long haul! LOL

Sparkling Enope Squid is a name difficult to remember and the translation of the Japanese name, Hotaru Ika/蛍烏賊 or Firefly Squid, certainly holds a better sound and is more adapted to reality.
It is also known as Matsui Ika in Toyama Prefecture.

The Sparkling Enope Squid is found in the Western Pacific ocean at depths of 600 to 1200 feet and exhibits bioluminescence. Each tentacle has an organ called a photophore, which produces light. By flashing these lights, the Sparkling Enope Squid can attract small fish to feed upon.

The Sparkling Enope Squid is the only species of cephalopod in which evidence of color vision has been found. While most cephalopods have only one visual pigment, firefly squid have three, along with a double-layered retina. These adaptations for color vision may have evolved to enable firefly squid to distinguish between ambient light and bioluminescence.

The Sparkling Enope Squid measures about 3 inches long at maturity and dies after one year of life.
The Sparkling Enope Squid can also light up its whole body to attract a mate. The mating season of the Sparkling Enope Squid lasts from March to June.

The fishing season lasts from Spring to Summer. The annual catch varies between 4,500 and 6,500 tonnes.

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They are very popular boiled as a snack or cooked in soy sauce and sake. You can of course cook them in wine or tomato sauce, European-style.

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They are very much much appreciated raw and whole as sashimi or lightly boiled as sushi on nigiri!

Shellfish species 12: Japanese Ivory Shell-Japanese Babylon Shell/Baigai


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Japanese Ivory Shell/Japanese Babylon Shell are known as Bai, Baigai, Isobai in Japanese.
They are just in season now as we see them over the counters from Spring to Summer.
They used to very common and found all over Japan, but unfortuantely too many have been caught or killed by pollution in recent years.
The biggest specimens are caught off Toyama fairly deep where they can attain 15cm length and weigh as much as 300g.

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The most popular way of eating them is to first boil them in water and soy sauce and serve them cold.

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But the Japanese apprecaite them very much raw as sashimi and

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sushi!

There must be a good reason for the Japanese to call them “Kai no Oosama/King of Shelfish”!

Cuttlefish/Squid Species 4: Surume Ika/Japanese Common Squid-Pacific Flying Squid


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Here we go again with this series called “The Jacques Cousteau” upon suggestion by Jaded Fork and forBread + Butter, and Elin who don’t mind being on a long haul! LOL

Surume Ika or Japanese Common Squid/Pacific Flying Squid is also called by regional names of Ma Ika, Matsu Ika or Kanzegi.

It caught off the shores of Northern Japan and south of Kyushu Island.
Catches tend to vary widely.
The Japanese squid can live anywhere from 5° to 27°C, and tend to inhabit the upper layers of the ocean. They are short lived, only surviving about a year.
The fishing season for the Japanese flying squid is all year round, but the largest and most popular seasons are from January to March, and again from June to September. Gear used to catch the Japanese flying squid is mainly line and hook, lift nets, and gill nets, the most popular method being hook and line used in jigging.
Most of it is turned into various pickled or dried cuttle fish/squid products.
It is also much appreciated broiled or simmered.

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It is quite popular as a simple sushi nigiri,

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or slightly boiled with “tare” sauce.

Cuttlefish/Squid Species 3: Aori Ika/Bigfin Reef Squid


The Japan Blog List

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

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Here we go with this series called “The Jacques Cousteau” upon suggestion by Jaded Fork and forBread + Butter, and Elin who don’t mind being on a long haul! LOL

Aori Ika or Bigfin Reef Squid is another extremely popular cuttle fish but in many othere countries.
In French languedoc and Roussillon they call them “piste” and eat them raw marinated in lemon juice, olive oil and spices on top of freshly toasted bread.

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America Aori Ika/Caribbean Reef Squid

Of course they come by various regional names in Japan: Mo Ika, Bashoo Ika, Kutsu Ika, Misu Ika, Shiroi Ika.
They are fairly large as they can attain 40~45 cm length for a weight up to 6 kg.

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Their season is from Summer to early Autumn (just in time for this article!). They are mainly caught in Central and South Japan along the Southern shores.
The catch has never been big (mainly by trawling nets), making them a choice morsel.
They are considered the best cuttlefish as far as sashimi is concerned.
The Japanese often catch them as a hobby to process and sell at local markets.

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As sushi, especially as nigiri, they are simply top-class!

Sea Pineapple/Common Sea Squirt: Hoya/Mahoya


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The Common Sea Squirt, very often called Sea Cucumber is neither a coral, seaweed, shellfish or whatever.
It is an animal of its own class.

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in its natural habita, already a prey to many marine predators, it has become rare because of the extensive catch by humans.

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Its natural colour is whitish out of the water while (see pic above) Hoya rasied by humans are of a deep orange colour.

We are just in the middle of its season, May.
They are mainly raised in Miyagi Prefecture while natural ones are caught in Iwate Prefecture.

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You have to cut it open to reach its edible part.

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It can be eaten raw, slightly boiled or pickled.
It is said to be the rare sea animal combining the four tastes: sweetness, saltiness, sourness and acidity.

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For a better view of its insides. It is called sea squirt, because it is mainly filled with sea water which can be expelled at will.

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Ipersonally appreciate it as sushi nigiri, although it is a bit of an acquired taste!

Cuttlefish/Squid Species 2: Kensaki Ika


The Japan Blog List

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

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I decided to dedicate this series called “The Jacques Cousteau” upon suggestion by Jaded Fork and forBread + Butter, and Elin who don’t mind being on a long haul! LOL

“Kensaki Ika/ケンサキ烏賊 goes by the Latin name of Loligo (Photololigo) edulis Hoyle,1885, but that complicated name does not prevent this particular squid to be extremely popular in Japan!

It is of course known under other local names: Ak Ika/Red Squid, especially in Shizuoka, Budo Ika/Grapes Squid, Shiro Ika, Gotou Ika.

They will soon appear in the markets in Summer.
They are mainly caught by line.
They are more and more available live, so great specimens can be easily bought.

They are a very versatile kind of squid as they can be appreciated as sashimi, sushi, simmered, boiled, broiled, dried, and especially as tempura!

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As for me, it is a bit of a dilemna as I like them both as sushi nigiri and sashimi!

Cuttlefish/Squid Species 1: Yari Ika


The Japan Blog List

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

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Cuttlefish or squids are eaten almost all the world as they seem to inhabit the whole planet! They are the favourite food of many big fish such as tuna, whales and birds. Although humans contribute to dwindling stocks, they will never consume the same amount as its natural predators.

The Japanese call them Ika/烏賊, roughly meaning crow shellfish/cephalopods.

This is the start of a long series. I do hope you like them, otherwise you are in for a long haul!LOL

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Yari Ika/槍烏賊, or Spear Squid, are also known under the names of sasika, Sayaika, Shyakuhachi, Tsutsuika or Sayanaga.
In Japan they are mainly caught in Winter and Spring off the shores of Aomori, Hokkaido, Ibaragi, Mie, Aichi and Yamaguchi Prefectures.
Females are slightly more rounded thanthe males.
They are either caught with nets or lines.
Their flesh is comparatively thin, but soft and sweet. They are among the most popular in Japan.
The best specimens are the ones caught by line. Buy them live whenever possible.

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They can of course be cooked, or eaten as sashimi, but I reckon sushi nigiri is best.
The best sushi restaurants will serve two of them with two different dip soy sauces.

Beche de Mer/Sea Cucumber Species: Namako


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NAMAKO-RED
(Red Sea Cucumber)

Beche de Mer in French, Sea Cucumber in English, Sea Rat (海鼠) in Japanese, this marine creature has been called all kinds of names in many different countries over the ages.
French sailors were catching them and trading them with the Chinese as far back as the XVIIIth Century.
They are presently the most poached single creature inthe Jpaanese seas by illegal fishermen from China, Nort Korea and Russia.

NAMAKO-GREEN
(Green Sea Cucumber)

NAMAKO-BLACK
(Black Sea Cucumber)

Quite a few varieties are found in Japanese markets, but the highest quality specimen are the red sea cucumbers.

The best season is Winter, although they are sold over the counter well beyond Spring in Japan.
They ave many names in Japanese: Namako, Manamako, Akako, Aoko, Kaiso and are caught almost all around the Japanese islands.
They lay eggs from late Spring to early Summer, hence their best taste in Winter when the Japanese find them almost sweet.
Choose red ones as they are softer and tastier. Choose specimens with firm flesh and healthy skin.

NAMAKO-BACHIKO
(Namako Bachiko)

The Japanese eat them in many ways. Like the Chinese they eat them in their dried form, or “Bachiko”.

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They are popular boiled in green tea!

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Of course you will find them as sashimi!

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Or as sushi nigiri!

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Their innards, called “konowata”, are considered a delicacy!

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Most popular as gunkan sushi!

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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Sea Urchin Species


The Japan Blog List

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

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Aka Uni/Red Sea Urchin Roe

Sea urchins, or uni/海栗in Japanese, are popular in many countries, but maybe not as much as in Japan!
The situation sometimes is becoming ridiculous as time and again Chinese and North Korrean ships are caught poaching sea urchins in the Japan seas to export them later to Japan!

There are many kinds of sea urchins, some great, some barely acceptable, and many inedible.
I will keep this posting to the most popular ones in Japan.

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Ezobafun-uni, or Kaze, or Kanze are best appreciated in Spring.
Most are caught off Hokkaido.
As its name in Japanese says (Sea Chestnut), when fresh it has a firm texture and tastes like chestnuts.

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Its roe is a beautiful orange.
Beware of imported copies that don’t mely in your mouth!

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Beautiful as sushi nigiri or gunkan!

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Appearing on the markets between early Summer and Atumn, domestic specimen come from Hokkaido (12,000 tonnes).

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Please note the different colour, more yellowish.
It is widely imported from Russia (6.200 tonnes), USA (2,600 tonnes), Chili (2,100 tonnes), Canada (800 tonnes) and Kora (300 tonnes).

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Great as sushi nigiri!
Good quality specimens should be firm, with a definite shape, and leave a yellow colour inside its box or on chopsticks!

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Chili-Uni/Sea Urchin from Chili is considered as the best imported sea urchin in Japan and merits a special mention.

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Beautiful served as sushi gunkan!

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Aka-uni/Red sea Urchin, although of a lower grade, is considered a choice morsel.

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Aka uni roe, some of which will find its way in the following dishes!

SEA URCHIN DISHES

There are countless ways of cooking and using sea urchins!
The following are just suggestions.
Enjoy!

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Uni Chyawan Mushi

UNI-COLD-PEPEROCINO
Cold Pepperocino Sea Urchin Spaghetti

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Sea Urchi Gratin in its shell

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Another Sea Urchin Gratin in its shell.

UNI-PILAF
Sea Urchin Pilaf

UNI-RENKON
Uni-Renkon: Sea Urchin cooked inside slices of Lotus roots

UNI-SHUMAI
Sea Urchin Shou-mai

UNI-TOFU-AVOCADO-MILLEFEUILLE
Sea Urchi Tofu and Avocado Millefeuille

UNI-TOFU-SOUP
Sea Urchin and Tofu Soup

Octopus Species


The Japan Blog List

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

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OCTOPUS-MIZUDAKO-SALAD
Mizudako Octopus Sashimi Salad

Octopuses are common on the markets along the Mediteranean Sea, especially Greece, italy and Spain.
Tey are also very common in Asia, especially Korea and Japan.

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For people living in Tokyo, you will find plenty inside the Tsukiji Market.

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As for people living in Shizuoka Prefecture, go and visit the Harbour in Numazu City!

There many kinds of octopus, some edible, some definitely not!
I will talk here about the main varieties found, sold and eaten in Japan!

MADAKO
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Madako or “True Octopus” will be sold from late Autumn till early Spring.
50,000 tonnes are caught in Japan while 100,000 tonnes are imported, 60% fromm Morocco, 20% from Mauritania and some more from South Africa.

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Boiled Madako from Japan

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Boiled Madako from South Africa

It is very often found boiled in the supermarkets and are appreciated in salads, chyawanmushi, takoyaki and so on.

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But lightly as sushi nigiri is probably the best!

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Mizudako, also called Shiodako and Oodako is a large variety reaching up to 3 metres. It is caught in Autumn and Winter at depths bewteen 100and 1,000 metres in the Northern half of Japan.
It is usually sold frozen. It is then cut when half thawn for:

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Mizudako sashimi

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Mizudako Salad

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It is also very common boiled and pickled in rice vinegar.

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Its eggs are a rare morsel eaten as sushi on a gunkan!

IIDAKO
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Iidako, also known as Komochidako or Ishidako are caught south of Hokkaido Island. They are comparatively small and do not measure more than 20 cm. A lot are caugt along the Korean Peninsula and China at depths down to 20 metres. They tend to lay their a bit everywhere, even inside empty cans at the bottom of the sea!
Imports have been increasing of late.

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Iidago are much appreciated cooked whole with their eggs or

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whole again, boiled or raw, as sushi on nigiri!

CHIHIRODAKO
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Chihirodako is local Shizuoka variety found at Numazu Harbour.
It is appreciated boiled or in Tenpura

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Its tentacles, boiled, are popular as sushi nigiri!

Shellfish Species 9: Round Clam-Hen Clam/Bakagai


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“Bakagai”, or Round clam/Hen Clam in English is found mainly in the Central part of Honshu Island.

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Actually, you have a good chance to discover it at low tide all over Japan.

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It is a versatile shellfish as it provides for two distinct morsels:

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The “Tongue” called “Aoyagi”. It is very popular in Japan for its colour and sweetness. It is both eaten as Sashimi and

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Sushi as nigiri.

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The second morsel, one of two muscle parts is called “Kobashira/Small pillar”.
Sushi chefs will keep them until they have enough to serve as sashimi or even better as suhi as gunkan!

Make sure to order either “Aoyagi” or “Kobashira” unless you want to start a long conversation by ordering “Bakagai”!

Shellfish species 11: Surf Clam/Ubagai


The Japan Blog List

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“Ubagai” or more commonly called “Hokkigai” when served as sashimi or sushi have many names in English.
Member of the Trough Shells Groups, they are called Surf Clams, or more precisely, as pertains to the varieties eaten in Japan, either Japanese Surf Clams or Sakhalin Surf Clams as they are collected both along Japan and Sakhalin Islands shores

8,000 tonnes are caught in Japan every year. 94% of fresh/live Surf Clams are collected in Hokkaido, Aomori, Fukushima and Miyagi Prefectures.
About 4,000 tonnes are imported frozen from Canada.
They are popular dried, in soups or cooked with vegeatbles and rice.

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Their “tongues” can be appreciated as sashimi, but are most popular lightly poached and cooled down.

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That is the way they are usually processed before being served as sushi nigiri, either straight, or with a few small incisions for better effect!

Shellfish Species 10: Ark Shell/Akagai


The Japan Blog List

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

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AKAGAI-5
(Ark shell sashimi in its own shell)

Akagai or Ark Shell tends to frighten potential sheffish amateurs because of its other English name, “Bloody Shell”, not only because of its deep reddish-orange colour, but also because of the reddish water it gives off upon opening.

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Now, shellfish do not have blood in our mammal concept.
Bear in mind that many shellfish are used for dyeing cloth, and if if I’m not mistaken, ark shells fulfill both utilitarian and gastronomic needs.

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It does require some skill to open and present.

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The main “Tongue” and “Thread/Akahimo” are edible.

The best season is Autumn, although they are available all year round. They are pretty abondant along the Japan southern coastlines, but many of them are also imported from Korea and China amounting to 80% of the total domestic consumption.

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Ark shells are usually not served cooked.
Sashimi (see top picture) is very much apprecaited but sushi nigiri is definitely the most popular way to savour them!

Shellfish Species 8: Pen Shell/Tairagi


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Pen Shells or Tairagi in Japanese are usually sold in winter but tend to still appear in Sping in Shizuoka.

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Also called Tairagai, it was very common not so long ago when the domestic catch amounted to 13,395 tonnes in 1976 to suddenly fall to a mere 134 tonnes in 1994!
It disappeared from the Tokyo Bay and is presently mainly caught in the Inner Japanese Sea between Shikoku and Honshu Islands.

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It has become expensive these days and when you realize there is not so much to eat for such a big shell, one can understand it is fast becoming a rare morsel.

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It is particularly delicious as sashimi or salt-grilled and is very similar to scallops, although distinctly different in shape.
Naturally it is most popular served as sushi nigiri!