Mackerel, snapper and garfish are the most popular choices for this treatment, known as Shio-yaki in Japanese. All of them develop a unique flavour and texture when treated with salt. The salt is washed away before cooking.
2 small or 1 large mackerel, snapper or garfish, gutted and cleaned, with head on
30 ml (2 tbsp) fine table salt
1 medium carrot, shredded, to serve
for the soy ginger dip
60 ml (4 tbsp) dark soy sauce
30 ml (2 tbsp) sugar
2.5 cm (1 in) piece fresh root ginger
for the japanese horseradish
45 ml (3 tbsp) wasabi powder
10 ml (2 tsp) water
1. To make the soy ginger dip, put the soy sauce, sugar and ginger in a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2 - 3 minutes. Strain and set aside to cool. To make the Japanese horseradish, put the wasabi powder into a small bowl and stir in the water to make a stiff paste. Shape the mixture into a neat ball and set aside.
2. Rinse the fish under cold, running water and pat thoroughly dry with kitchen paper. Slash the fish several times on both sides, cutting down as far as the bone. Sprinkle the salt inside the fish and rub it well into the skin. Set aside on a plate for 40 minutes.
3. Wash the fish in plenty of cold water to remove all traces of salt. Shape the fish into a gentle curve and secure in position with two bamboo skewers inserted along the length of the body, one above and one below the eye.
4. Cook the fish under a preheated grill or on a barbecue for 10 - 12 minutes, turning once.The skin can be basted with a little of the soy ginger dip part way through cooking, if liked. Transfer the fish to a serving plate and arrange carrot, Japanese horseradish and soy ginger dip decoratively around it.
Wasabi is the ground root of an oriental type of horseradish. It is very sharp and aromatic and often served with raw fish and shellfish. In the West, it is usually available only as a powder, which has to be mixed with water to make a paste.
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