Seasonal Fish 5: Shimaaji/”Shima” Saurel

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“Aji” or Saurel/Horse Makerel comprises many varieties. This particular fish, “Shimaaji” (“Island Saurel” or Pseudocaranx dentex (Bloch and Schneider)for the specialists) is remarkable as it can be called a true Shizuoka Prefecture fish.
It is called by other names such as “Ookami”, “Kona” or “Katsuoaji”.
It is caught off Izu Peninsula shores in August.
Actually, whatever the time of the year it is caught, there is little difference in taste.
It is considered as a great morsel for sashimi, either in slices or “aji tataki”, cut in small cubes to which chopped thin leeks and grated fresh ginger are added. Many are half-wild, but you can put your hands on live wild specimen, you will certainly understand the difference!
When asking for sashimi or nigiri, ask for a whole live fish to be cut. If you happen to be in a reputable sushi restaurant, the bones and head will be deep-fried and offered to you later!
Although 3,000 tonnes were raised in 2000, the quantity widely varies from year to year.

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