Other Names: Buri, mojyako, tsubasu yazu (Japanese); charuteiro do Japão (Portuguese); gelbschwanz, Japanische seriola (German); Japanese amberjack; Japansk ravfisk (Danish); king amberjack; racing tuna; ricciola giapponese (Italian); seriola coreana, serviola (Spanish); sériole du Japon (French); yellowtail; zheltokhvostaya lakerda (Russian). Japanese kingfish: Gold striped amberjack; hiramasa (Japanese); yellowtail kingfish. Carangidae.
General Description: Hamachi (Seriola quinqueradiata), commonly known as yellowtail, is a prized, expensive, rich, flavorful fish in the jack and pompano family. Some fish are caught wild, but a substantial amount is farmed for use in sushi. In May, Japanese farmers scoop up the small wild fry
(called mojako_) from under floating seaweed and grow them in cages in the sea. The closely related Japanese kingfish (_S. lalandi), commonly known by its Japanese name, hiramasa, is found in the cool, temperate waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans and is now farmed in Japan and Australia. Firm with fullbodied flavor, the fish is highly esteemed for sashimi.
Locale and Season: Wild hamachi are found in Hawaii; they are farmed off central Japan. Another species, S. lanlandei, are harvested off Baja California and may be sold as farmed hamachi, though they are not suited to sushi.
Characteristics: Hamachi have both dark and light meat, though wild fish vary in color depending on fat content. Lighter fish are higher in fat. Raw, they have subtle flavor and
yielding texture. Cooked, the flesh is white and firm with mild, sweet, buttery flavor. Wild hamachi, not farmed, may contain parasites.
How to Choose: Whole hamachi average 12 pounds; single sides are shipped from Hawaii in well-sealed packages. Line-caught whole hamachi from California are also available.
In Japan, fish of 3 kilos (6.6 pounds) are called hamachi, at 5 kilos (11 pounds) they are called buri.
Storage: Refrigerate hamachi in its package under crushed ice. Do not use cubed ice, which could bruise it.
1. Cut away any dark meat along the edge. Trim very
well and use every bit, especially the delicious firm
meat near the head.
2. To slice for sushi, wrap hamachi fillets in plastic and
freeze 30 minutes, or until firm and somewhat stiff.
3. Using a very sharp knife with a long, thin blade, and
starting at the head end, cut straight across into very thin slices to about three-quarters of the way down the fillet. The tail end is too stringy to use.
4. Broil, grill, sauté, or use for sushi or sashimi.
Suggested Recipe: Hamachi with Red Grapefruit and Mint (serves 4): Combine 6 ounces of very thinly sliced fresh hamachi with 4 thin slices red onion and 2 tablespoons small
diced red grapefruit. Combine 2 teaspoons lime juice, 1 teaspoon canola oil, 1 teaspoon ponzu sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the fish with most of the marinade, leave for 5 to 10 minutes to cure, then drain. Combine with remaining marinade, thinly sliced mint and scallions, and serve very cold.
Flavor Affinities: Avocado, bell pepper, cucumber, ginger, lemon, lime, mint, orange, ponzu, red grapefruit, red onion, rice vinegar, scallion, sesame, soy sauce, yuzu.
from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com