Nobu Mackerel With Sansho Cucumber Salsa

…one day a Matsuhisa regular refused…sashimi…I drizzled the fish with ponzu and spooned over hot oil to cook it partially…she ended up eating every scrap of my first serving of New Style Sashimi…Nobu: The Cookbook (p. 116)

So I came across a recipe for Spanish Mackerel/Sawara with Sansho Cucumber Salsa in Nobu Miami: The Party Cookbook (p. 36).  Recalling Nobu’s new style sashimi and the steamed fish variant (Steamed Scorpion Fish in Nobu West [p. 149]), I thought, “why can’t I do a cooked version of this dish?”  What I had in mind was a quick grilled/broiled mackerel fillet garnished with the sansho cucumber salsa

For the salsa –
1 japanese cucumber (a persian would do), seeded and finely diced
2 Tablespoon of finely diced red onion
2 teaspoon preserved sansho peppercorns, chopped (ok, this read: arima sansho!)
1/2 teaspoon chopped kinome leaves – here, I would substitute sansho powder
2 Tablespoon white ponzu (1 part lemon juice, 2 parts shiro shoyu, 4 parts rice vinegar (ok, it’s 1 teaspoon more))

Ingredients for white ponzu...ok, ok... I know I used yuzu instead of lemon juice!

Ingredients for white ponzu…ok, ok… I know I used yuzu instead of lemon juice!

Arima Sansho for the sansho cucumber salsa!

Arima Sansho for the sansho cucumber salsa!

sansho powder, since I didn't have kinome

sansho powder, since I didn’t have kinome

To make the salsa, simply mix all the ingredients together.  The trick I like to do is mix the ponzu first with the red onions so as

2 tablespoons of finely diced red onion

2 tablespoons of finely diced red onion

a persian cucumber...

a persian cucumber…

...peeled and finely diced

…peeled and finely diced

2 tablespoons of drained arima sansho chopped as much as possible

2 teaspoons of drained arima sansho chopped as much as possible

to mitigate any substantial sting the red onions might have.

adding in the sansho powder

adding in the sansho powder

...and the salsa's all done

…and the salsa’s all done

My wife volunteered to simply sautee some shredded radicchio in some rice oil to accompany the mackerel and salsa.  The mackerel I would salt/pepper with 4:1 salt/pepper mix.  I’d pop the mackerel fillets into a preheated 475 degree oven for about

roasted mackerel with sansho cucumber salsa and sauteed radicchio

roasted mackerel with sansho cucumber salsa and sauteed radicchio

8 minutes.  My wife was slightly dubious about the salsa but after trying it with a bite of mackerel, she was surprised how bright and refreshing the salsa was, contrasting the rich flavor of the mackerel.  I think I’d like to make this dish with roasted endive or radicchio.  Thank you Matsuhisa-sama for sharing a recipe that could be used in a cooked variation.  It’s nice to have another way of preparing mackerel for dinner!

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