December Seasonal Japanese Seafood 12月旬の魚

Kinki

Kinki

I love seafood this time of year. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I met Shinji around New Year’s and one of the first days we spent together he took me on a tour of Tsukiji Market (he was working as a buyer at Tsukiji then).

Some of our favorite seafood for sashimi include kinmedai (splendid alfonsino), hirame (olive flounder), kawahagi (thread-sail filefish), and kanburi (winter Japanese amberjack). Shinji loves kanburi so much that part of our honeymoon was spent trekking to one of the ports famous for harvesting winter buri and having it for breakfast. And, if the kawahagi is fresh, you can eat the liver raw – a real treat.

Wakasagi (Japanese smelt) is lovely when simply dredged in some flour and fried up. Eat it whole and serve it with some sake. We love to use ankou (monkfish) for nabe and to steam the ankimo (monkfish liver) in sake. Some say it is better than foie gras. Having studied at the French Culinary Institute and having a soft spot in my heart for French cuisine, I would have to say that I prefer foie gras, but that ankimo is a close second – and excellent with some sake or shochu.

Shijimi (corbicula clams) are best enjoyed in miso soup. Asari (littleneck clams) over pasta with simply extra virgin olive oil just can not be beat.

Shinji loves to grill hata hata (sailfin sandfish), especially if they are komochi (full of eggs). I have tried to come to like the hard eggs but it’s an acquired taste. I love fish eggs of all kinds, but these are very hard and crunchy and surprisingly big in size.

Crab is in season this time of year – perhaps best enjoyed simply steamed. I love uni – as sashimi, sushi, or when I am craving some Western preparation I love to make uni pasta.

Finally, the photo above is of kinki (thornhead). This is an amazing fish when simply simmered (nitsuke). Tender, delicate, and sweet flesh that falls off the bone.

December Japanese Seasonal Seafood

Akagarei – 赤鰈 flathead flounder (Hippoglossoides dubius)

Amadai – 赤甘鯛 tilefish (Branchiostegus japonicus)

Ankou – 鮟鱇 monkfish (Lophiomus setigerus)

Asari – 浅利 littleneck clams (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Bora – 鯔 flathead gray mullet (Mugil cephalus cephalus)

Buri – 鰤 Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Fugu – 河豚 blowfish or puffer fish (Takifugu porphyreus)

Hata Hata – 鰰 sailfin sandfish (Arctoscopus japonicus)

Hirame – 鮃  olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus)

Honmaguro – 本鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

Houbou – 魴 gurnard (Chelidonichthys spinosus)

Hoya – 海鞘 sea squirt (Halocynthia roretzi)

Inada –  イナダ young Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Kaki – 牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Kanburi – 寒鰤 Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Kawahagi – 皮剥 thread-sail filefish (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)

Kinki – 喜知次 thornhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinme – 金目 splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Kurumaebi – 車海老 Japanese tiger prawn (Penaeus (Melicertus) japonicus)

Madara – 真鱈 Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus)

Makarei – 真鰈 littlemouth flounder (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Managatsuo – 真名鰹 silver pomfret (Pampus punctatissimus)

Madara shirako – 白子 milt from Pacific cod

Mebaru – 目張 rockfish (Sebastes inermis)

Meji maguro – young maguro

Mizudako – 水蛸 North Pacific giant octopus (Octopus dofleini)

Mutsu – むつ gnomefish (Scombrops boops)

Namako – 生子 sea cucumber (Stichopus japonica)

Nametagarei – 婆鰈 slime flounder (MIicrostomus achne)

Saba – 鯖  Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Sakuraebi – 桜蝦  sakura shrimp (Sergia lucens)

Sawara – 鰆  Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sazae – 栄螺 horned turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Shijimi – 大和蜆 corbicula clams (Corbicula japonica)

Sukesoutara – 介党鱈   Alaska pollack (Theragra chalcogramma)

Suzuki – 鱸  Japanese sea perch (Lateolabrax japonicus)

Uni –  sea urchin

Wakasagi – 若細魚  Japanese smelt (Hypomesus nipponensis)

Warasa – 鰤 Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Zuwaigani – 頭矮蟹 snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio)

October Seasonal Japanese Seafood

Kinki

Kinki

As the waters become cooler the fish become rich with fat. We love sanma (Pacific saury) this time of year, both as sashimi, or simply salted and grilled. If there is a nice cup of nihonshu on the table, eating the guts of the sanma is also a treat. For miso soup a handful of shijimi (corbicula clams) into the pot brings lots of umami and flavor. A bowl asari (Japanese little neck clam) steamed in nihonshu is a perfect appetizer to dinner. While I always thought of hirame (halibut) and karei (flounder) as white fish and hence non-fatty that is not at all the case. These flatfish can take on a lot of fat – which you can actually see in the flesh. These are great as sashimi, or after a day or two we love to simmer until tender in nihonshu. Kinki (thornhead) is a fish that Shinji loves. It is often served as a nimono, simmered in a delicate soy broth.

Ainame 鮎並 fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii)

Aka garei 赤鰈flathead flounder (Hippoglossoides dubius)

Amaebi 甘海老 sweet shrimp(Pandalus borealis)

Asaba garei 浅羽鰈 dusky sole (Lepidopsetta bilineata)

Asari 浅蜊 Japanese little neck clam (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Awabi abalone (Haliotis sorenseni)

Babagarei 婆鰈 slime flounder (Microstomus achne)

Baka gai 馬鹿貝 surf clam (Mactra chinensis)

Benizuwai gani 紅頭矮蟹 red snow crab (Chionoecetes japonicus)

Botan ebi ボタンエビ Botan shrimp  (Pandalus nipponesis)

Hakkaku or tokubire 八角 sailfin poacher (Podothecus sachi)

Hata hata 鰰  sailfin sandfish (Arctoscopus japonicus)

Hime ezobora 姫蝦夷法螺  sea snail (Neptunea arthritica)

Hirame 鮃 olive halibut (Paralichthys olivaceus)

Hokkai ebi or hokkai shima ebi 北海海老 Hokkai shrimp (Pandalus latirostris)

Hokke 𩸽 arabesque greenling (Pleurogrammus azonus)

Hokki gai (uba gai) 姥貝 hen clam (Pseudocardium sachalinense)

Hokkoku aka ebi or amaebi 北国赤蝦  Alaskan pink shrimp (Pandalus borealis)

Hon maguro (or kuromaguro) 黒鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

Hotate gai 帆立貝 Japanese scallop (Mizuhopecten yessoensis)

Kaki  牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Numagarei or wakagarei 沼鰈 starry flounder (Platichthys stellatus)

Kegani 毛蟹 horsehair crab (Erimacrus isenbeckii)

Kemushi kajika 毛虫鰍 sea raven or toubetsu kajika (Hemitripterus villosus)

Kinki or Kichiji 黄血魚 thornhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kitsune mebaru 狐目張 or mazoi fox jacopever (Sebastes vulpes)

Kuro gashira garei 黒頭鰈 cresthead flounder (Pleuronectes schrenki)

Kurosoi 黒曹以 jacopever (Sebastes zonatusschlegeli)

Madara or tara 真鱈 Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus)

Magarei 真鰈 littlemouth flounder (Pleuronectes herzensteini)

Mako garei 真子鰈 marbled flounder (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Masu 鱒 trout (there are many types of trout – see nijimasu, sakuramasu)

Matsukawa garei or tantaka or takanoha 松皮鰈 barfin flounder (Verasper moseri)

Mizudako 水蛸 North Pacific giant octopus (Octopus dofleini)

Muroaji 室鰺 Brown-striped mackerel scad (Decapterus muroadsi)

Niji masu 虹鱒 rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Nishin 鰊 Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii)

Sake 鮭 salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)

Sakura masu or yamame 桜鱒 cherry salmon (Oncorhynchus masou maso)

Sanma 秋刀魚 Pacific saury (Cololabis saira)

Shako 蝦蛄 mantis shrimp (Oratosquilla oratoria)

Shiira 粃 mahi mahi (Coryphaena hippurus)

Shijimi 大和蜆 corbicula clam (Corbicula japonica)

Shirauo 白魚 icefish (Salangichthys microdon)

Shishamo 柳葉魚 capelin (Spirinchus lanceolatus)

Souhachi 宗八鰈 pointhead flounder (Cleishenes pinetorum)

Suketou dara 鯳 Alaska pollack (Theragra chalcogramma)

Suna garei 砂鰈 sand flounder (Limanda punctatissima)

Surumeika 鯣烏賊 Japanese flying squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Tachiuo 太刀魚 cutlassfish (Trichiurus lepturus)

Tarabagani 鱈場蟹 Alaska king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus)

Ugui 鯎 Japanese dace (Tribolodon Hakonensis)

Wakasagi 若細魚 Japanese smelt (Hypomesus nipponensis)

Yanagi no mai 柳の舞 yellow rockfish (Sebastes steindachneri)

September Seasonal Japanese Seafood 9月旬の魚

September Seasonal Japanese Seafood

Sanma

Sanma

Perhaps no fish signals the arrival of autumn to me than sanma (Pacific saury), a silver skinned, long and skinny fish that for me is best when simply salted and grilled. This at night with a glass of nihonshu or shochu is heaven for me. What many Japanese especially appreciate is the bitter innards of the grilled sanma, a nice match for a hearty sake.

The shijimi (corbicula clams) are perfect in a bowl of miso soup and asari (Japanese littleneck clams) are great simply steamed in some sake or if you are craving a Western preparation, then steamed with white wine and garlic and served over pasta.

Many flounders are in season now. We like these meuniere style, sauteed in butter and then finished with a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Finally, a lot of these are great as sashimi. Shinji likes the fishy seafood like nishin (Pacific herring), sanma (Pacific saury), and iwashi (Japanse anchovy).

To make it easier for readers to understand what each seafood is I have linked to a photo of the seafood. Just click on the Japanese name.

Ainame 鮎並 fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii)

Aka garei 赤鰈 flathead flounder (Hippoglossoides dubius)

Akijake 秋鮭

Amaebi 甘海老 sweet shrimp (Pandalus borealis)

Asaba garei 浅羽鰈 dusky sole (Lepidopsetta bilineata)

Asahigani spanner crab (Ranina ranina)

Asari 浅蜊 Japanese little neck clam (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Awabi 鮑abalone (Haliotis sorenseni)

Ayu 鮎 sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis)

Baka gai 馬鹿貝 surf clam (Mactra chinensis)

Benizuwai gani 紅頭矮蟹 red snow crab (Chionoecetes japonicus)

Botan ebi ボタンエビ Botan shrimp  (Pandalus nipponesis)

Dojou 泥鰌 loach (Misgurnus Anguillicaudatus)

Ezo bafun uni 蝦夷馬糞海胆 short-spined sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus intermedius)

Ezobora 蝦夷法螺 whelk (Neptunea polycostata)

Hakkaku 八角 sailfin poacher (Podothecus sachi)

Also called tokubire

Hanasaki gani 花咲蟹  spiny king crab (Paralithodes brevipes)

Hata hata 鰰  sailfin sandfish (Arctoscopus japonicus)

Hime ezobora 姫蝦夷法螺  sea snail (Neptunea arthritica)

Hirame 鮃 olive halibut (Paralichthys olivaceus)

Hokke 𩸽 arabesque greenling (Pleurogrammus azonus)

Hokki gai  北寄貝 surf clam (Pseudocardium sachalinense)

Hokkoku aka ebi 北国赤蝦  Alaskan pink shrimp (Pandalus borealis)

Hon maguro (or kuromaguro) 黒鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

Hotate gai 帆立貝 Japanese scallop (Mizuhopecten yessoensis)

Ibodai 疣鯛 butterfish (Psenopsis anomala)

Kaki  牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Katakuchi iwashi 片口鰯 Japanese anchovy (Engraulis japonicus)

Kawa yatsume 川八目 Japanese lamprey (Lampetra japonica)

Kawagarei or Numagarei 沼鰈 starry flounder (Platichthys stellatus)

Kegani 毛蟹 horsehair crab (Erimacrus isenbeckii)

Kinki or Kichiji 黄血魚 thornhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kita murasaki uni 北紫海胆 Northern sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus nudus)

Kouika 甲烏賊 cuttlefish (Sepia (Platysepia) esculenta)

Kounago 小女子 Japanese sand lance (Ammodytes personatus)

Kuro gashira garei 黒頭鰈 cresthead flounder (Pleuronectes schrenki)

Kurokarei 黒鰈 black plaice (Pleuronectes obscurus)

Kuruma ebi 車海老 kuruma prawn (Penaeus (Melicertus) japonicus)

Ma anago 真穴子 conger eel (Conger myriaster)

Magarei 真鰈 littlemouth flounder (Pleuronectes herzensteini)

Mako garei 真子鰈 marbled flounder (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Managatsuo 真名鰹 silver pomfret (Pampus punctatissimus)

Masu 鱒 trout (there are many types of trout – see nijimasu, sakuramasu)

Mizudako 水蛸 North Pacific giant octopus (Octopus dofleini)

Namako 真海鼠 Japanese sea cucumber (Stichopus japonica)

Niji masu 虹鱒 rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Nishin 鰊 Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii)

Sake 鮭 salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)

Sakura masu 桜鱒 cherry salmon (Oncorhynchus masou maso)

Sanma 秋刀魚 Pacific saury (Cololabis saira)

Saragai 皿貝 Northern great tellin (Megangulus venulosa)

Shijimi 大和蜆 corbicula clam (Corbicula japonica)

Shirauo 白魚 icefish (Salangichthys microdon)

Souhachi 宗八鰈 pointhead flounder (Cleishenes pinetorum)

Suketou dara 鯳 Alaska pollack (Theragra chalcogramma)

Suna garei 砂鰈 sand flounder (Limanda punctatissima)

Surumeika 鯣烏賊 Japanese flying squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Tachiuo 太刀魚 cutlassfish (Trichiurus lepturus)

Tarabagani 鱈場蟹 Alaska king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus)

Torigai 鳥貝 Japanese cockle (Fulvia mutica)

Unagi 鰻 Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica)

Wakasagi 若細魚 Japanese smelt (Hypomesus nipponensis)

Yanagi no mai 柳の舞 yellow rockfish (Sebastes steindachneri)