February Seasonal Japanese Seafood 2月旬の魚

As it is cold throughout most of Japan, February is a wonderful time for hot pots (nabe). Monkfish (ankou) is one of Shinji’s favorite nabes. We always save the liver and serve it separately. It’s very easy to steam – see a simple recipe here. Wakasagi or shirauo are both lovely when lightly battered and deep-fried. As for sashimi, we love kinmedai, hirame, kanburi and tairagai. If you get a fresh kawahagi for sashimi, save the liver, mash it in a mortar and pestle, and add it to some ponzu for a creamy dipping sauce. Shijimi miso soup is a wonderful way to start any day. And sazae are perfect for grilling in their shells. Best of all may be all the succulent crabs that are in season like tarabagani and zuwaigani.

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

Ankou – 鮟鱇 monkfish (Lophiomus setigerus)

Aoyagi –  青柳  surf clam (Mactra chinensis)

Buri – 鰤 Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Fugu – 真河豚 blowfish or pufferfish (Takifugu porphyreus)

Hamaguri – 浜栗  common Orient clam (Meretrix lusoria)

Hirame –  鮃 olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus)

Honmaguro – 本鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

* also called kuromaguro

Ishigarei – 石鰈 stone flounder  (Kareius bicoloratus)

Itoyori – 糸縒鯛  golden threadfin-bream (Nemipterus virgatus)

Kaki – 牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Kanburi – 寒鰤 winter Japanese amberjack (see buri) (Seriola quinqueradiata)

* The port of Himi in Toyama is famous for its kanburi.

Kasago – 笠子 scorpionfish (Sebastiscus marmoratus)

Kawahagi – 皮剥 thread-sail filefish  (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)

Kinki – 黄血魚 thornhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinmedai– 金目 (sometimes called kinme) splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Madai –  真鯛 seabream (Pagurus major)

Mutsu –  gnomefish (Scombrops boops)

Saba – 鯖  Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Sawara – 鰆  Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sazae – 栄螺  turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Shijimi – 大和蜆 corbicula clams (Corbicula japonica)

Shirauo – 白魚 whitefish or ice goby (Salangichthys microdon)

Tairagai – 平貝  penshell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)

Tara – 真鱈 codfish (Gadus macrocephalus)

Tarabagani – 鱈場蟹 Alaskan king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus)

Umazurahagi – 馬面剥 filefish scraper (Thamnaconus modestus)

Wakasagi – 若細魚 Japanese smelt  (Hypomesus nipponensis)

Yari ika – 槍烏賊 spear squid (Loligo (Heterololigo) bleekeri)

Zuwaigani – 頭矮蟹  snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio)

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January Japanese Seasonal Seafood 一月旬の魚

kanburi

kanburi

 

January Japanese Seasonal Seafood

The seafood in winter is rich with fat as the fish protects itself from the cold waters. Some sashimi eaten this time of year will be a bit oily as a result. As always, we love to have most seafood as sashimi when possible, in particular tairagai and yari ika. Shinji in particular has a soft spot for kanburi or winter buri from Himi port in Toyama. He loves it as sashimi but it is also good as teriyaki or in the classic dish buri daikon – simmered with daikon in a slightly sweet soy broth. Kinmedai is also lovely when simmered in a soy broth as nitsuke.

Aozakana, literally blue fish, are the fishy fish in the mackerel family like saba and sawara. Sawara can be marinated in a sweet Saikyo miso and grilled, the miso helps to cover some of the intense fish flavor. Saba is nice simmered in miso in a traditional dish preparation called misoni. Shime saba is the term for saba that has been marinated in a sweet rice vinegar, essentially pickling it. Finally, each January we usually have ankou nabe, a hot pot of monkfish. We save the liver to prepare it as ankimo, often called “foie gras of the sea”. It is simple to prepare, see the recipe here.

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

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)

Benizuwaigani楚蟹  red snow crab   (Chionoecetes japonicus)

Buri – 鰤 Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Chidai–   血鯛  crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Hamaguri – 浜栗  common Orient clam  (Meretrix lusoria)

Hira suzuki – 平鱸   blackfin Japanese seabass (Lateolabrax latus)

Honmaguro – 本鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

Hoshigarei –  星鰈  spotted halibut (Verasper variegatus)

Kaki – 牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Kanburi – 寒鰤 winter Japanese amberjack (see buri) (Seriola quinqueradiata)

* The port of Himi in Toyama is famous for its kanburi.

Kinmedai– 金目 (sometimes called kinme) splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Matsuba gani – 松葉蟹 spiny crab (Hypothalassia armata)

Matsukawa –  松皮鰈  barfin flounder (Verasper moseri)

Nishin – 鰊  Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii)

Oma honmaguro – 大間鮪 bluefin tuna from Oma in Aomori (see honmaguro)

Saba – 鯖  Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Sawara – 鰆  Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Shijimi – 大和蜆 corbicula clams (Corbicula japonica)

Soudagatsuo– 騒多鰹  frigate mackerel  (Auxis thazard)

Surumeika –   鯣烏賊  Japanese flying squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Tairagai –  平貝  pen shell or fan shell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)

Yanagi dako – 柳蛸 chestnut octopus (Octopus conispadiceus)

Yari ika – 槍烏賊 spear squid (Loligo (Heterololigo) bleekeri)

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)