Maybe you have already seen that on your sushi.
“Produce of Alaska” is written on the label. Japan has some, but not enough for everybody in this season, and I don’t think Americans would eat them anyway. They are eggs of Pacific herring.
Osechi symbolic meaning :
kazu no ko, means “babies in numbers…” , lots of babies, incredible fertility. A natural wish for the next year. Other eggs and fish roe/eggs are eaten as osechi, but this one is said to be the “most fertile” type of fish.
Here they are raw and unprepared. They also sell them ready to eat.
Preparation in sake brine :
It’s quite similar to the preparation of ikura (salmon roe/eggs) and other species.
Place the pockets of eggs in salted cold water. After about 20 minutes :
Post-scriptum : It seems the pockets we buy are salted for preservation. So a Japanese reader explained me I need a longer unsalting time. I had to soak the fish in “slightly salted” water, and change the water a few times. The final result would have been less salty.
You can see the white skin. I scraped it away gently with a table knife -the kind that doesn’t cut. Then I rinsed them in fresh water.
My brine was made of 1 cup of sake, 1/4 cup of nama shoyu (soy sauce), and 2 cups of kombu dashi (seaweed broth). I brought it to a boil and poured on the fish.
Kombu dashi seaweed broth : I put a few leaves of dry kombu seaweed in water, brought to a boil and let a few hours.
I’ve let it 12 hours. Then I was disappointed, as that was too salty when I placed them in the box. But the next day, that was better and taste of sake less dominant, more refined. It is salty food anyway. Serve small amounts with less salty item on the side. With this recipe, they can be kept a few days in the fridge.
I used a wet kombu seaweed sheet to place them in the lacquer box.
On the guest plate with other osechi items (my brunch today) :
They are not only served at New Year, but they are less common in other times. They can be a sushi topping. Or separated eggs are mixed to seaweed salad, or to calamari sashimi.