Kabayaki Mackerel Don

One of my favorite ‘fast’ Nobu dishes is the Kabayaki Sardine (iwashi) Don from Nobu Now (p. 218).  My own take on the dish is to replace the sardine with the saba/sawara.  Because I’m using larger pieces of fish, I tripled the amount of the seasoning specified in the recipe (3 tablespoons each of sake, soy and mirin).

left to right: mirin, sake, soy, 15 yr old balsamic vinegar

kabayaki seasoning mix (3 parts each of mirin, sake, soy)

Fresh mackerel fillets from a 1 lb whole mackerel

To prepare the fish, I cut the two fillets in half and shake-and-baked them in a mix of 6 tablespoons

All purpose flour for coating the mackerel

of all purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of 4:1 salt/pepper mix.

mackerel fillet pieces 'shake-n-bake''d in a salt/pepper/flour mix

To cook the fish, I shook off the excess flour/salt/pepper coating and placed them into a preheated wok with several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (olive oil was specified in the recipe), skin

Extra virgin olive oil for sautee'ing the mackerel

side down for about 3 minutes at medium heat. I periodically checked to see if the skin side was nicely browned (and crusted) and flipped the fish over to cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.

Mackerel, all nice and golden brown

Once that was done, I poured in the soy/sake/mirin mix and flipped the fillets several times in the

Adding the kabayaki seasoning sauce mix

seasoning to coat the cooked fish.  Once that was done, I sprinkled pinches of the sansho pepper (it turns out that I didn’t need the entire teaspoon of sansho) and drizzled 1 teaspoon of aged balsamic vinegar  over the four pieces of fish.  It’s interesting to note that 9 tablespoons of seasoning was completely absorbed by the flour dredge pieces of fish.

kabayaki absorbed by the crust, sansho sprinkled on and balsamic vinegar drizzled on

So I placed a bowl of rice onto a serving plate, flattened it out (much as I would the rice in a hot korean stone bowl [okdol/gopdol]) and topped the rice with a piece of the fish.  The meal was accompanied by a family style plate of sauteed garlic shredded carrots.

donburi plated!

I was concerned my wife might not like the offering since she doesn’t like sweet items on her palate when it comes to entrees. My wife said she was really happy with it, commenting that it wasn’t too sweet and the balsamic vinegar’s acidic note balanced the sweet note from the mirin.  She did note that the fish really did have to be eaten with the rice otherwise the flavors might be overpowering to her palate.  She asked me when I would be making the dish again!

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