Saturday, April 21, 2012

Non-frozen yellowfin tuna, yellowtail and amaebi sashimi with roe キハダマグロ、はまち、甘エビの刺身

Catalina has not had bluefin tuna, either "Akami" or "Toro", for a long period of time but almost always has fresh sashimi "Yellowfin" tuna キハダマグロ listed as in-stock. I decided to try the fresh yellowfin tuna as well as fresh wild caught yellowtail or Hamachi ハマチ. They also had "live" side spotted prawn or "amaebi" 甘エビ (more like "botan-ebi" 牡丹海老). The only uni they had was "Premium" not "Gold" uni. I decide to give it a go and ordered these items.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed. The yellowfin tuna was kind of dry and mealy in texture exactly like the frozen block we can get any time from our local Japanese grocery store (I should not have expected more). The wild caught hamachi was not bad but, as they cautioned, it was not as oily and lean. (Maybe this was because it is spring and they haven't had the summer to fatten up? I like frozen hamachi better.) The amaebi were too big; only two were the size I like but the remaining 3 were very large with lots of roe. The uni tasted good but it was very soft and color was not as nice as the highest grade "gold" uni we are used to.

The sashimi servings we had the first night are shown above.  We felt guilty after seeing all the roe these prawns had. Rather than wasting  them (they are attached to the outer layers of the shell of the abdomen not to the meat), I removed and sautéed them in butter and seasoned with soy sauce in a small frying pan. I let them cool down and served them in a cucumber cup (left in the picture above--the one looking darker red) with tobiko roe (bright red on the right). It is more about the texture than taste but not bad for a fringe benefit.

I served the amaebi more like lobster sashimi (cut-up) since it was so large. This time they arrived all dead but they were still fresh enough. The meat was succulent and sweet as you can see in the above picture.

I used two small and one large amaebi for two of us. After I deep fried the shrimp heads, I cut the large one in half. The small ones we could enjoy everything including the shells which became crunchy. But with the large one, the outer shell was too hard even after prolonged frying and we consumed only what was inside. It was like eating crackling--very crunchy with a pleasant ocean flavor. It is the best part in any case. 

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