Here is a wild and delicious dish idea using Blue Moon’s seasonal fish at this time of the year. Several years ago I found this fish during the height of the summer at Blue Moon. Since then, I have been enjoying it very much. The existence of this fish on this part of the water (East Coast) first surprised me. This fish is largely caught in Japan in the southern part of the main island and below. It is an expensive fish and is a Kyoto Kaiseki chefs’ favorite.
The head of this fish is a kind of square-shaped. The eyes are beautiful and large. The body is covered with very large scales like the ones of sea bream, but not too thick as those. The fresh is very tender. The fishmonger at Blue Moon called it “tile fish”. But, this naming is a bit confusing. When I searched “tile fish” on line, a different fish showed up on screen. In Japan the fish is called ‘amadai’. The fish belongs to Branchiostegus family (Wikipedia) and its official name is Japanese branquillo in Japan.
Amadai has a nickname. In Kyoto area it is called ‘guji’. At this time of the year when you are traveling through this region, you must try ‘Guji/Amadai no Wakasa-yaki”. It is a dish developed many years ago. The fish caught off Wakasa Bay in Fukui Prefecture was lightly cured in salt and transported on foot to the capital city of Kyoto. Curing the fish removed excess water from the fish, therefore improving the flavor, texture and shelf life of the fish.
Wakasa-yaki is a unique preparation. We grill the fish with scale attached. At the end of cooking the scale attached skin presents very smooth flat appearance. None of the individual scale should warp up. In order to achieve it, during cooking the fish, both the skin-side and the flesh-side is basted with sake. In other preparation chef peel the scale-attached skin skillfully into several long strips from the tail side to the head. Then, he or she deep-fry the scale-attached skin as a crunchy snack.
Here how I enjoyed in two dishes. Before the preparation please make sure to take the following process.
- Scaled the fish with a fish scaler
- Rinsed well the inside belly cavity with a toothbrush
- Fillet and portion it
- Salt it; rinse it; dry it with paper towel
1) Steamed and served with fried summer vegetables in flavored dashi broth
2) Skillet sautéed with sorghum flour and served with lemon-butter-warishita sauce
3) Fish ball (potato starch, salt, miso, scallion) soup
Amadai’s texture resembles to the one of cod, but it is sweeter and the flavor is much more elegant than the one of cod. Enjoy the amadai during this season.