The centerpiece of today’s dish--hot pot with dumplings of in-season horse mackerel--is the gold-tinted stock made from fishbone.
“In the past when ingredients were scarce, people used fishbone,” says Kimio Tomura, owner of a Japanese restaurant. “But it suits horse mackerel dumplings better than bonito stock.”
“It makes sense,” says Tomura, who is quick to add that he still has a lot to learn from recipes of years past. Serves four.
10 (1 kg) horse marckerel (aji)
White part of 2 green onion (naganegi)
1 pack mitsuba or onion shoot (menegi)
250 cc sake
1 Tbsp mixture of water with either kudzu or katakuriko starch (mix same amount of water and starch)
Piece of ginger (half the size of thumb)
Kelp stock (for dumpling)
Remove line of spiny scale near tail fin of fish, cut off head, slice stomach open to remove gut. Wash and pat dry. From the head side, make a cut horizontally along the back bone and fillet. Leave as little meat as possible on backbone. Turn sides and repeat. Slice off stomach bone from fillet. Remove small bones with fishbone tweezer.
Cut head in half lengthwise, wash with backbone and pat dry. Place in bowl with stomach bone, mix with 2 tsp salt and keep in fridge for 2 hours to remove smell and to get clear stock.
Add bit of salt to boiling water, add bone in two to three parts and blanch. Immerse in cold water. Rinse well and pat dry. Bring 3-liter water, sake and bone to a boil over high heat. Remove scum until none emerge. Simmer for 40-50 minutes.
To make dumplings, remove skin from fillet, cut into thickness of 1-2 cm and pound. Move meat to mortar. Add 1 tsp ground ginger, mixture of water and starch, bit of pepper and grind roughly to leave small chunks. Make dumplings smaller than ping-pong ball. Bring kelp stock to a boil, add dumplings. After they float to surface, cook for 4-5 minutes until springy.
Cut green onion into 2-cm pieces. Slice open lengthwise and cut along fiber to thickness of 5 mm. Onion shoot should be cut into length of 2 cm.
Strain fishbone stock through paper towel. Add little less than 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp light soy sauce per 1 liter stock. Bring stock to a boil, add dumplings. Add 1 tsp ginger juice and black pepper. Sprinkle onion on top.
* * *
From The Asahi Shimbun's Kashikoi Okazu column
- « Prev
- Next »