I’ll make this short. I promise!
Cumulatively over the series of dining sessions held at my place after each fishing trip, a growing cache of all kinds of fine liquor has formed, many thanks to the kind contributions of those who came with a bottle… But amongst the bourbons, single malt, and other forms of alcohol, the group’s favourites are this bottle of Sake and Sochu. Warmed in a hot water bath, this Sake makes a very agreeable accompaniment with the sashimi that we have gathered to demolish.
But today, we are going to rethink what we thought as good Sake.
Scorpionfish Is Edible
On a recent jigging trip at Desaru on Zam’s boat, I was to be reacquainted with a very old friend — the Northern Scorpionfish (ヒュウガカサゴ / Parascorpaena picta) used to be delivered alive to my house, and grandma will brew a clear soup of it for me with hopes that it will heal me of Psoriasis. I can’t remember whether it worked or something else did the trick as I was a pre teen then. But I didn’t have that skin problem again until my early adult life, but I digress.
When this little fish landed on deck, the deckies seem to fear it and handled it with pliers etc. But I’ve watched grandma handle it many times and how she dressed this fish because I’m always fascinated to see what comes out from in there. So I took over from the boys to unhook it and then ike jime. But because the head is full of hard thorns, it’s easier for me to pierce the brain through the mouth instead.
Wrapped it up thick and safe with cling wrap and in it goes to the eskee.
60g Senses Metal Jack Jig was to be the undoing of this Northern Scorpionfish
A sashimi of two seldom tasted fish. Foreground is ヒュウガカサゴ (Scorpionfish) and behind that is カマス (Barracuda). The Scorpionfish tasted firm and very clean. The Barracuda is very tender and full of umami sweetness. If only we have more to eat.
After the sashimi was polished off, which didn’t take long, I took off the fins, dried them and grilled till they are crispy and brown. Into the tea cups they go, covered in piping hot sake and steeped for three to four minutes to make Hirezake (ひれ酒).
After the 3 minutes are up, everyone looked at me as I took a sip from my cup, half expecting me to drop dead from scorpionfish poisoning or something. Instead, I tasted the smoothest Sake that I’ve never imagined was possible. And the rest became history before I could get another shot for my blury picture.
Hirezake — it can transform cheap sake into a very smooth drink.
I don’t know what kind of alchemy this is, but I dare say, everyone agreed the transformed sake was so smooth, it felt like it didn’t touch the lips and tongue before it’s already down the throat.
So next time you get some Scorpionfish, or Ayu, grill it till it’s crispy and make yourself some Hirezake.
Do try this yourselves. I hope you enjoy it too, and do drink with moderation so that you can drop a comment about how yours turned out!
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