An Easy Shellfish to Cook at Home – Asari

live a sari

Asari (Ruditapes philippinarum) Japanese littleneck clams

Asari, Japanese littleneck clams, are in the market now and may be some of the easiest shellfish to cook with at home. We picked these up at Tsukiji Market and put them in water to get rid of any sand and grit. It’s best to do this overnight if you can. We wash the clams in water and then put them in a bowl of water and cover with aluminum foil. When we put the clams in the bowl they were all closed shut. Check out how much they opened up overnight. Be sure to make time to rid the clams of sand or don’t bother making them. It can be very frustrating to bite into a sandy clam.

Asari pasta

Asari vongole

Perhaps the easiest recipe is to simply steam the clams in saké with a bit of salt. That of course is best served with some of the saké that it is steamed in. Our next favorite is to sauté some garlic in olive oil, add white wine and the clams and let them open up and then add some pasta for a quick vongole. Our three-year old loves this and requests it often.

Asari miso soup

Asari, daikon, and daikon greens miso soup

Finally, boiling the clams in water and adding miso makes for a quick and easy miso soup. This bowl here we had cooked some daikon in the water before adding the asari and then garnished with finely minced daikon greens.

Look for asari at the supermarket in the seafood section. It is usually sold packed on styrofoam trays and wrapped in plastic wrap. I usually pay only about 250 to 400 JPY for a pack that feeds three of us. Asari should be eaten as soon as possible. They will not keep long so only buy when you are ready to eat, usually later that day or for the next day.

October Seasonal Seafood

sanma

At Tsukiji Market we are seeing many autumn seafood like oysters, wakasagi for deep-frying, and finally sanma for grilling with salt. Some of our favorite sashimi this time of year include katsuo, isaki, and if you get a kawahagi with a big liver we will mix the liver with soy sauce and dip the sashimi in the creamy mixture. Many of the fishy fish like saba, iwashi, and aji are in abundance.

Akagarei 赤鰈 flathead flounder (Hippoglossoides dubius)        

Amadai 赤甘鯛 tilefish (Branchiostegus japonicas)

Ayu 鮎 sweet fish (Plecoglossus altivelis)

Bora flathead mullet or Gray mullet (Mugil cephalus)               

Chidai 血鯛 crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Hon kamasu 本カマス barracuda (Sphyraena pinguis)       

Hon kawahagi 本皮剥 thread-sail filefish (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)   

Hon shishamo 本ししゃもcapelin or longfin smelt (Spirinchus lanceolatus)

Ibodai疣鯛 Japanese butterfish (Psenopsis anomala)

Isaki 伊佐木threeline grunt (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Itoyori イトヨリgolden threadfin bream (Nemipterus virgatus)

Kaki 牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Katsuo  鰹   skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kohada 小鰭   gizzard shad (Konosirus pumctatus)

Kurumaebi 車海老   Japanese tiger prawn (Marsupenaeus japonicas)

Maaji 真鯵 horse mackerel (Trachurus japonicas)        

Maiwashi  真鰯  sardine (Sardinops melanostictus)

Masaba真鯖   pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Mebachi maguro 目鉢鮪 bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus)

Medai 目鯛 butterfish (Hyperoglyphe japonica)

Mekajikiめかじき swordfish (Xiphias gladius)        

Sanma 秋刀魚 Pacific saury (Cololabis saira)

Sawara さわら Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Shirosake 白鮭   chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)                              

Sujiko筋子 salmon roe still in the sac                         

Surume ika スルメイカJapanese flying squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Tachiuo   太刀魚   cutlassfish or largehead hairtail (Trichiurus lepturus)

Takabe タカベ yellow-striped butterfish (Labracoglossa argentiventris)

Wakasagi 若細魚 Japanese smelt (Hypomesus nipponensis)                                        

Warasaワラサ yellowtail  (Seriola quinqueradiata)        

Watarigani 渡蟹 swimming crab (Portunus trituberculatus)    

 

Other fish you may see in the market

 

Ainame 鮎魚女fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii)                         

Akagai 赤貝 ark shell (Scapharca broughtonii)

Asari 浅利 Japanese littleneck clams (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Ayu     ayu or sweet fish ( Plecoglossus altivelis)                

Hotate 帆立貝 scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis)

Hoya ホヤ sea squirt (Halocynthia roretzi)

Kihada maguro 黄肌鮪 yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)  

Kinki 黄血魚 thornyhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinmedai or kinme 金目鯛 splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Kurumaebi 車海老   Japanese tiger prawn (Marsupenaeus japonicas)  

Maaji  真鯵  horse mackerel (Trachurus japonicas) 

Madai 真鯛 sea bream (Pagurus major)

Makarei 真鰈 Japanese common flounder (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Mebaru 目張 rockfish (Sebastes inermis)

Mirugai 海松食 geoduck (Tresus keenae)           

Sazae 栄螺 turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Tairagai 平貝 penshell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)

Tobiuo 飛魚 flying fish (Cypselurus agoo agoo)

Tsubugai   螺貝   whelk (Buccinum undatum)

August Seasonal Japanese Seafood

 

katsuo

Katsuo tataki

Image

Katsuo sashimi topped with myoga, shiso, and garlic

Den17

Katsuo as done by chef Zaiyu Hasegawa at Den

Look for seafood from this list when eating out in Japan or in the supermarkets or at your fishmonger. Most of the seafood listed here you can enjoy as sushi or sashimi. At home we like to have tachiuo as sashimi with a bit of sesame oil and sea salt. Ayu is best salted and grilled. And while we don’t cook hamo at home we look forward to having it out at restaurants, especially with a bainiku (umeboshi) dressing. At home we often have katsuo topped with lots of yakumi like shiso, myōga, and garlic then dress it with a soy sauce and sesame oil dressing. Katsuo can be bought raw or seared on the outside as tataki).

Ayu 鮎  sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis)

Dojou 泥鰌 loach (Misgurnus Anguillicaudatus)

Hamo   pike eel or pike conger (Muraenesox cinereus)

Hiramasa 平政 yellowtail amberjack (Seriola lalandi)

Hoya  ほや sea squirt(Halocynthia roretzi)

Inada 鰍 young amberjack (or yellowtail) (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Stages of buri: wakashi, inada, warasa, buri

Indo maguro Southern Bluefin tuna 

Isaki 伊佐幾 chicken grunt (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Kanpachi  間八 amberjack or yellowtail (Seriola dumerili)

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

Kensaki ika 剣先烏賊 swordtip squid (Loligo edulis)

Kihada maguro 黄肌鮪 yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)

Kisu 鱚 Japanese whiting (Sillago japonica)*or shirogisu

Kochi 鯒 bartail flathead (Platycephalus)

Koyari ika槍烏賊  baby spear squid (Loligo bleekeri)

Kuruma-ebi 車海老 Japanese tiger prawn (Penaeus (Melicertus) japonicus)

Ma-aji 真鯵 Japanese jack mackerel (Trachurus japonicus)

Ma-anago 真穴子 whitespotted conger (saltwater eel) (Conger myriaster)

Ma-iwashi 真鰯  Japanese sardine (Sardinops melanostictus)

Managatsuo 真名鰹 silver pomfret (Pampus punctatissimus)

Ma-tako 真蛸  common octopus (Octopus vulgaris)

Nijimasu 虹鱒 rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Shiira  しいら 鱪 dorado or mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus)

Shima aji  島鯵 striped jack or white trevally (Pseudocaranx dentex)

Shinko (Konoshiro) 鰶 dotted gizzard shad (Konosirus punctatus)

Surumei ika するめいか Japanese common squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Suzuki すずき 鱸 Japanese sea bass (Lateolabrax japonicus)

Tachiuo 太刀魚  cutlassfish (Trichiurus lepturus)

Takabe たかべ yellow-striped butterfish (Labracoglossa argentiventris)

Unagi 鰻 Japanese freshwater eel  (Anguilla japonica)

July Seasonal Japanese Seafood

Image

Simmered ma-anago

Image

Seared katsuo

July Sashimi

July sashimi

 

Some of our personal favorites include ayu (salted and grilled), shitabirame (meuniere), shijimi (miso soup), benisake (salted and grilled), and for sashimi – surumeika, kinmedai, takabe, and isaki.

Ainame 鮎並 fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii)

Akashita birame 赤舌鮃  red-tongued sole (Cynoglossus joyneri)

Awabi abalone (Haliotis sorenseni)

Ayu 鮎 sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis)

Benisake べにさけ 紅鮭 sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Dojou 泥鰌 loach (Misgurnus Anguillicaudatus)

Hamo   pike eel or pike conger (Muraenesox cinereus)

Inada イナダ young Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Isaki 伊佐幾 chicken grunt  (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Ishidai 石鯛  barred knifejaw (Oplegnathus fasciatus)

Ishimochi イシモチ nibe croaker (Nibea mitsukurii)

Iwana 日光岩魚 whitespotted char (Salvelinus leucomaenis pluvius)

Kamasu 大和叺 barracuda (Sphyraena japonica)

Kanpachi  間八 amberjack or yellowtail (Seriola dumerili)

Katsuo 鰹  skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kawahagi 皮剥 thread-sail filefish (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)

Kihada maguro 黄肌鮪 yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)

Kinmedai 金目鯛 splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Kisu 鱚 Japanese whiting (Sillago japonica)*or shirogisu

Kochi 鯒 bartail flathead (Platycephalus)

Kuro maguro 黒鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

Maaji 真鯵 Japanese jack mackerel (Trachurus japonicus)

Maanago 真穴子 whitespotted conger (Conger myriaster)

Maiwashi 真鰯  Japanese sardine (Sardinops melanostictus)

Makogarei 真子鰈 marbled sole (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Masaba 真鯖 Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Mejimaguro めじまぐろ young tuna (genus Thunnus) if it is a young bluefin tuna it will be called honmeji, if it is a young yellowfin tuna it will be called kinmeji.

Niji masu 虹鱒 rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Oni okoze  鬼虎魚 spiny devilfish (Inimicus japonicus)

Shijimi – 大和蜆 corbicula clams or water clams (Corbicula japonica)

Shima aji  島鯵 striped jack or white trevally (Pseudocaranx dentex)

Shiro ika 白いか  swordtip squid (Loligo (Photololigo) edulis)* or kensaki ika

Shitabirame 舌平目 (or ushinoshita) four line tongue sole(Arelia bilineat)

Surumeika 鯣烏賊  Japanese common or flying squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Suzuki 鱸  Japanese sea perch (Lateolabrax japonicus)

Tachiuo 太刀魚 cutlassfish (Trichiurus lepturus)

Takabe たかべ yellow-striped butterfish (Labracoglossa argentiventris)

Tobiuo 飛魚 Japanese flying fish (Cypselurus agoo agoo)

Unagi 鰻 Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica)

March Seasonal Japanese Seafood

tairagaiTairagai, hokkigai, and kinmedai in a tairagai shell

March is a delicious month for seafood. 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. Grilling salted fish heads of buri or tai is quick and simple and the perfect accompaniment to sake or shochu. Bitesize tiny hotaru ika can be quickly blanched and then served with a sweet and vinegary sumiso dressing. 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.

 

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

 

Akagai 赤貝 ark shell (Scapharca broughtonii)

Akagarei 赤鰈 flathead flounder (Hippoglossoides dubius)

Amadai 赤甘鯛 tilefish (Branchiostegus japonicus)

Ankou 鮟鱇 monkfish (Lophiomus setigerus)

Aoyagi  青柳  surf clam (Mactra chinensis)

Asari 浅利 Japanese 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)

Fugu 真河豚 blowfish or pufferfish (Takifugu porphyreus)

Hamaguri 浜栗 common Orient clam (Meretrix lusoria)

Hira suzuki 平鱸   blackfin Japanese seabass (Lateolabrax latus)

Hirame 鮃 olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus)

Honmaguro 本鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

Hoshigarei 星鰈 spotted halibut (Verasper variegatus)

Hotaru Ika 蛍烏賊擬 firefly squid  (Enoploteuthis chunii)

Hotate 帆立貝 scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis)

Iidako 飯蛸 ocellated octopus (Octopus ocellatus)

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)

Kasago 笠子 scorpionfish (Sebastiscus marmoratus)

Katsuo 鰹 skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kawahagi 皮剥 thread-sail filefish  (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)

Kihada maguro 黄肌鮪 yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)

Kinki 黄血魚 thornhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

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

Kohada 小鰭 gizzard shad (Konosirus pumctatus)

Madai (or Tai) 真鯛 seabream (Pagurus major)

Makogarei 真子鰈 marbled sole (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Matsuba gani 松葉蟹 spiny crab (Hypothalassia armata)

Matsukawa 松皮鰈  barfin flounder (Verasper moseri)

Mebaru 目張 black rockfish (Sebastes inermis)

Mirugai 海松食 geoduck (Tresus keenae)

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)

Sakura ebi 桜蝦 sakura shrimp (Sergia lucens)

Sawara 鰆 Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sayori 針魚 halfbeak (Hyporhamphus sajori)

Sazae 栄螺 turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Shijimi 大和蜆 corbicula clams (Corbicula japonica)

Shirauo 白魚 whitefish or ice goby (Salangichthys microdon)

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)

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)

Yanagi dako 柳蛸 chestnut octopus (Octopus conispadiceus)

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

Zuwaigani 頭矮蟹 snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio)

 

 

 

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)

July Japanese Seasonal Seafood

surumeika

surumeika

Following is a list of seasonal seafood for July. Look for these in the market or if you are going out for sushi. Some of our personal favorites include ayu (salted and grilled), shitabirame (meuniere), shijimi (miso soup), benisake (salted and grilled), and for sashimi – surumeika, kinmedai, takabe, and isaki.

Ayu あゆ 鮎 sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis)

Benisake べにさけ 紅鮭 sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Inada いなだ  鰍 young amberjack (or yellowtail) (Seriola quinqueradiata) wakashi, inada, warasa, buri

Isaki いさき  伊佐幾 chicken grunt (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Katsuo かつお 鰹 skipjack tuna (or bonito) (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kinmedai きんめだい 金目鯛 splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Maaji まあじ 真鯵 Japanese jack mackerel (Trachurus japonicus)

Mejimaguro めじまぐろ young tuna (genusThunnus) if it is a young bluefin tuna it will be called honmeji, if it is a young yellowfin tuna it will be called kinmeji.

Shijimi しじみ 蜆 Corbicula clams (or water clams) (Corbicula japonica)

Shiro ika しろいか 白烏賊 or Kensaki ika swordtip squid (Loligo edulis)

Shitabirame したびらめ 舌平目 (or ushinoshita) four line tongue sole(Arelia bilineat)

Surumeika するめいか 鯣烏賊 Japanese common squid (or flying squid) (Todarodes pacificus)

Suzuki すずき 鱸 Japanese sea bass (Lateolabrax japonicus)

Takabe たかべ yellow-striped butterfish (Labracoglossa argentiventris)