May Seasonal Japanese Seafood 5月旬の魚

katsuo tataki

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. 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. This time of year, the katsuo is referred to as “hatsu-gatsuo”. Katsuo actually is in season two times a year. This is the first time we see it, hence the name “first katsuo” in Japanese. The meat in the spring is very rich and intense in flavor and is lean without any fat which makes it refreshing. Katsuo tataki is particularly nice if you can garnish it with fresh myoga and dress it with a citrusy ponzu sauce.

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.

Iwashi (sardines) and isaki (threeline grunt) are just starting to become rich with fat as we approach the rainy season.

Ainame  鮎魚女  Fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii

Akagai 赤貝   Ark shell (Scapharca broughtonii) 

Aoyagi   青柳   Surf clam (Mactra chinensis) 

Asari  浅利   Japanese littleneck clam (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Ayu      Ayu or sweet fish ( Plecoglossus altivelis)

Chidai   血鯛   Crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Ginzake 銀鮭   Silver (Coho) salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutsh )

Hiramasa 平政 Giant amberjack (Seriola lalandi)

Hotate 帆立貝   Scallop  (Patinopecten yessoensis)

Hoya  ホヤ   Sea squirt (Ascidiacea) 

Minami maguro 南鮪 Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) 

Isaki 伊佐木 Threeline grunt (Parapristipoma trilineatum )

Ishigarei 石鰈 Stone flounder (Kareius bicoloratus)

Katsuo      Skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Karauni   殻雲丹   Sea urchin (Anthocidaris crassispina)

Kinki 黄血魚   Thorny head (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinmedai 金目鯛   Splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Kihada maguro  黄肌鮪   Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) 

Kisu キス Sillago (Sillago japonica)

Kurodai 黒鯛   Japanese black porgy (Acanthopagrus schlegelii)

Okoze 虎魚   Scorpion fish (Lnimicus japonicus(Cuvier))

Maaji  真鯵   Horse mackerel (Trachurus japonicas)

Maanago 真穴子 Conger eel (Conger myriaster  )

Madai  真鯛   Red sea bream (Pagurus major)

Maiwashi 真鰯 Sardine (Sardinops melanostictus)

Mirugai  海松食   geoduck (Tresus keenae)

Mebaru 目張   rockfish (Sebastes inermis)

Makogarei   真子かれい   Marbled flounder (Pleuronectes yokohamae Gunther)

Mongōika もんごういか   Kisslip cuttlefish (Sepia lycidas) 

Sakura ebi  桜蝦    Sakura shrimp (Sergia lucens)

Sawara      Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sazae   栄螺   Turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Shirauo 白魚   Whitefish or ice goby (Salangichthys microdon)

Shira ebi 白海老   Glass shrimp (Pasiphaea japonica)

Sumiika   墨烏賊   Cuttlefish (Sepia (Platysepia  esculenta Hoyle)

Tairagai   平貝   Pen shell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)

Tachiuo   太刀魚   Belt fish or Largehead hairtail (Trichiurus lepturus Temminck&Schlegel)

Tokisake   時鮭   Young chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)

Tsubugai   螺貝   Whelk (Buccinum undatum)

Shako   蝦蛄   Mantis shrimp (Oratosquilla oratoria)

Shiro ika 白烏賊 Swordtip squid (Photololigo edulis)

Torigai   鳥貝   Cockle (Fulvia mutica)



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for the glossary! The tuna is so beautifully fatty. Love it. Wish I could eat it.

    1. Would love to do a meal with you someday. We’ll do the sashimi and then indulge in your desserts. 🙂

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