Sunday, May 11, 2008

Torched! Shime Saba (Japanese Pickled Mackerel)

I lie.

We don't actually have a propane torch, so I had to resort to using the broiler. That itself resulted in an "adventure".

Saba is a favorite.

We order it "BBQed" in Japanese restaurants -- that is, robata. Simply cooked and simply seasoned with salt, the mackerel shines.

Of course, some izakaya places also torch the thing!

We first saw this at Hapa Izakaya on Robson lo many years ago. In their case, the mackerel was pickled, then they use a propane torch to singe the top, à la crème brulée. That was really good, too.

One day, when I went to Safeway (I believe to buy the "artisan" French bread for our po' boys), I decided to walk on over to Sakanaya Seafood.

We always pass by this place. Actually, the first time we saw their storefront from the car, JS was quite alarmed that Sakanaya sold

(Obviously, on second glance, they actually sell Fresh Fish, Smoked Salmon and Japanese Groceries.)

Inside, I saw they had sold out of their shio saba, but had a packet of pickled mackerel (shime saba). I thought of the torched dish at Hapa, so I forged ahead.

Here it is in all its saba glory. Nothing added, just some kosher salt on top.

I placed the fish on some parchment paper and placed it under the broiler.

When I checked in about 5 minutes, the thing was on fire!!!!!


I took the pan out and realized that the parchment paper was burning!

I was too lazy to try again sans parchment paper, so the "cooking" stopped there. There in the foreground are the charred remains of the parchment paper.

As you can see, the skin didn't really get "torched". Oh well. Maybe next time. The shime saba itself was delicious, though!

Hmm, maybe I should make a requisition for a propane torch...

("What?!", you say, "You mean you don't already have one?!" Yes, the shame. How can we be true cooks at all.)

Other mackerel dishes:
Torched! Shime Saba (Japanese Pickled Mackerel)
Grilled Pike Mackerel
Fried Hasa Hasa
Simmered Saba with Daikon Radish (Saba Oroshi-ni)
Broiled Pike Mackerel

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