So, it has been AGES since I last posted (coughs guiltily) but the foodventures have NOT stopped at all. If anything, there has been an improvement in my general cooking abilities, which has benefitted (greatly) the people I currently live with (eg. sister and the Economist)
Now that I actually have my own fridge with freezer, I do not have to worry about people stealing my food! Translated, it means more food.
Anyway, before I returned to London, the Economist went slightly insane and overloaded on groceries… including 4 entire mackerels. To be fair though, it was 4 mackerels for £5 OR £1.5/each. Any economist worth their weight would be able to see that the first one is obviously a better deal for both the wallet and the stomach ;) At any rate, it left me with a lot of fish to work with, so I decided to try my hand at saba misoni, which was the closest I could get to my mom’s legendary saba fish dish.
For quite a while now, I resist going to dine at ‘haute cuisine’ places because I do not think I would actually appreciate the food enough to justify the prices. For instance, while I did enjoy the dishes at NOPI (a more atas dining place by Yotam Ottolenghi), I would have personally be happier with getting a box of the usual salads from Ottolenghi. Perhaps I just have not went up the cost curve enough to taste truly sublime foods, but at my current state (read: student), I doubt that would happen anytime soon. Seeing as I am rather unwilling to enter a big commercial law firm, it is unlikely to happen anytime in the foreseeable future.
So, I have really quite simple tastebuds that prefer well-prepared homecooked meals to a fancy little two-bite portion of <insert gourmet food name>. It does say something though, that after more than 5 years, my sister and I still ask for my mother’s saba fish. Now, I realize that memory is quite deceptive as it can give a rose-coloured tint to many past events, but in all honesty, it was Damn Good Fish. The key thing I remembered was my mom simmering it for 3h++ but I had No Time.
Enter – my take on Saba Misoni. I perused a few sites to find recipes, but had to settle for inspiration because I could not obtain sake. While I do not think the dish was too adversely affected by the absence of sake, it would have added a nice touch to it. At any rate, for the taste, it was criminally easy to make.
Saba Misoni (Partly inspired by norecipes)
3 -4 slices ginger
1 shallot, thinly sliced
~1/2 C water
2 Tablespoons miso (I used white, but will mix white + brown in future)
2 Tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons sake (Did not add this time, but would in future!)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 mackerel fillets, rinsed and cut into 3 pieces each (i.e. 6 pieces in total)
1. Mix miso, mirin, soy sauce and water together.
2. Put into a saucepan big enough to accomodate all the fish pieces in a single layer, along with the ginger and shallot.
3. Cover, bring to boil, immediately turn heat down and place the fish pieces skin side up into the mixture.
4. Cover again, simmer over low heat for 10-15mins, or till fish is cooked through and tender.
To be honest, I am not sure how long i actually cooked it for. I suspect that you can actually just simmer it over very low heat for as long as you want to. For a recipe I kind of ‘cooked up’ on the spot, I was really pleased with the results. I think it helped that soy sauce, miso, and mackerel were all naturally high in umami factor! The moment I opened the lid and the Economist smelt what was cooking, a look of bliss went over his face. Guess that means approval!
Lastly, more fishy business ahead… On the weekly trip to Chapel Market, we spotted the ever-reliable fishmonger was selling whole Scottish salmon for £10. For one entire fish. After standing and gawping for a bit, I bought it (naturally). The fishmonger kindly cut it up for us and so now we have 6 steaks, 2 fillets, and 1 big fleshy head sitting in the freezer. Along with 2 more whole mackerel.
I love my freezer.