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February 10, 2019
Extremely delicate and subtle in flavor. The Left side with pink rim is Tai (similar to red snapper), and the right side without Hirame (a kind of flatfish). Both are must for authentic Japanese Sushi.
My favorite way is to taste them with some ponzu sauce (soy sauce with citrus juice) first. Then change it to a style. Add premium olive oil, squeeze of lemon, garlic powder, and some Italian herbs.
You can enjoy two must-try tastes with one dish!
Tai is a Japanese name for a fish, which is often called red snapper or sea bream in English. The best season for catching from wild stretches from winter to spring.
Farmed Tai is available all year round in Japan. Their quality is getting so high that you can discuss if it’s worthwhile paying a lot of money for the wild caught.
I’m not sure if there’s a direct English name for Hirame. Maybe “left-eyed flounder” is closest. If you just say “flounder”, it can include “right-eyed flounder (Karei)”. They have completely different tastes.
To be more specific, there are “large-mouth” and “small-mouth” left-eyed flounders. So, it’s getting more complicated. Hirame is a “large-mouth”.
They’re often called just flatfish, or sole, halibut, plaice, etc.
Farmed Hirame is very popular, too. If you insist on the wild caught, you should definitely have them in winter. Because they are most nutritious and richest in taste. Avoid from spring to summer. Because after spawning, they lose the richness.
Usuzukuri (thinly sliced sashimi) is a popular way of presenting white fish. Hirame, Tai, and Fugu (blowfish) are often used.
Because their flesh have some unique mouthfeel when biting. When cut thick, they are chewy and bouncy. When cut thin like Usuzukuri, they give very delicate texture.
The texture is called “Kori-kori” in Japanese. I give up trying to express it in English. Please experience it yourself. And let me know how you describe it in English.
Usuzukuri is awesome from aesthetic point of view, too (look at my photo). Just try it whenever you can. I’m sure you’ll never regret it.
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