May Seasonal Japanese Seafood 5月旬の魚

May Japanese Seasonal Seafood

Many of the seafood from March are still in season in April. The cold waters still bring fish rich with fat that shines in sashimi or is nice for grilling. Asari clams are great for making into a quick vongole style pasta. Nishin can be salted and grilled. And perhaps my favorite this time of year is katsuo simply seared on the edges, sliced thickly, and served with some soy sauce and garlic. Katsuo tataki is particularly nice if you can garnish it with fresh myoga.

Hotate we like as sashimi or cooked meuniere style. Takikomigohan of scallops is also a nice change-up. Mebaru is a light, white fish that is nice as himono. Don’t throw away the head of tai as it is lovely when salted and grilled. Shinji also likes to keep the bones of tai after he has filleted the fish to make a broth. Simply make some kombu dashi, add the bones and simmer for about ten minutes. A delicate broth, but rich with the umami from the fish bones and kombu.

As for octopus, which is one of my favorite seafood if cooked properly, there are so many recipes. Shinji and I visited an octopus processing factory and the staff there suggested putting boiled octopus on top of Japanese curry. It’s so easy as boiled octopus is often sold in Japanese supermarkets. And, it’s yummy.

If you are in Tokyo, be sure to visit Tamai in Nihonbashi, near Takashimaya, for anago which is in season now.

If you click on the Japanese name of the seafood you should be directed to a link with a photo.

Aji –  鰺 Japanese horse mackerel (Trachurus japonicus)

Anago –  穴子 conger eels (Conger myriaster)

Aori ika – 障泥烏賊 big fin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana)

Awabi– 鮑  abalone (Haliotis (Nordotis) discus discus)

Bai – 貝 Japanese ivory shell  (Balylonia japonica)

Benisake べにさけ 紅鮭 sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Chidai–   血鯛  crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Haze – 真鯊 spiny goby (Acanthogobius flavimanus)

Hiramasa – 平政 yellowtail amberjack (Seriola lalandi)

Honmaguro – 本鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

* also called kuromaguro

Houki hata – 箒羽太 comet grouper (Epinephelus morrhua)

Hotaru ika 蛍烏賊擬 firefly squid (Enoploteuthis chunii)

Hotate – 帆立貝 scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis)

Hoya – ほや sea squirt(Halocynthia roretzi)

Iidako 飯蛸 ocellated octopus (Octopus ocellatus)

Isaki – 伊佐幾 chicken grunt  (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Ishidai – 石鯛  barred knifejaw (Oplegnathus fasciatus)

Ishimochi – イシモチ nibe croaker (Nibea mitsukurii)

Iwashi – 鰯  spotline sardine (Sardinops melanostictus)

Jindou ika – 神頭烏賊 Japanese dwarf squid (Loliolus (Nipponololig) japonica)

Karei – 鰈 littlemouth flounder (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Katsuo – 鰹  skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kensaki ika剣先烏賊 swordtip squid (Loligo edulis)

Kibinago – 黍魚子 banded blue sprat (Spratelloides gracilis)

Kisu – 鱚  Japanese whiting (Sillago japonica)

*or shirogisu

Korodai – 胡廬鯛   painted sweetlips (Diagramma pictum)

Kurozako ebi – 黒雑魚海老 kuro shrimp (Argis lar)

Maaji まあじ 真鯵 Japanese jack mackerel (Trachurus japonicus)

Madai or tai – 真鯛 seabream (Pagurus major)

Makogarei 真子鰈 marbled sole (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Managatsuo 真名鰹 silver pomfret (Pampus punctatissimus)

Mebachi maguro  目撥鮪 bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus)

Mebaru – 目張 black rockfish (Sebastes inermis)

Mugi ika – 麦いか young and small surumeika in spring  (Todarodes pacificus)

Nishin – 鰊 Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii)

Ooasari – 蜊蝦夷忘 Japanese littleneck clam (Callista berevisiphonata)

Saragai – 皿貝 Northern great tellin (Megangulus venulosa)

Sawara – 鰆 Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sayori 針魚  halfbeak (Hyporhamphus sajori)

Sazae – サザエ   turban wreath shell (Turbo cornutus)

Shima ebi – 島海老 pandalid shrimp (Pandalopsis japonica)

Shima isaki – 縞鶏魚 sharpnose tigerfish (Rhyncopelate Oxyhynchus)

Shira ebi – 白海老 glass shrimp (Pasiphaea japonica)

Shiro ika – 白いか    swordtip squid (Loligo (Photololigo) edulis)

* or kensaki ika

Tako – 蛸  common octopus (Octopus vulgaris)

Tobiuo – 飛魚 Japanese flying fish (Cypselurus agoo agoo)

Torigai – 鳥貝 heart clam (Fulvia mutica)

Uni –  sea urchin

Yamame – ヤマメ cherry salmon (Oncorhynchus masou maso)

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