Soba miso soup and grilled aji fish

Classic Japanese food, in a not so classic meal presentation. There would be rice normally. That doesn’t matter, as long as it’s colorful and good.

Shioyaki aji. The aji are Japanese jack mackerels. They look like sardines but you can recognize them by the “zip” on their side. I’ve simply cleaned and emptied them them, sprinkled salt and grilled a few minutes under the broiler.

Some vitamins to fight the Winter plagues. The greens are sanchu Korean lettuce. Then some pickled young ginger.

Plated.

Blanched fresh soba with nanohana (rape greens). On that, a classic miso soup. The red bits are a dry togarashi chili.

Fragrances and flavors sealed in the shell

Another scallop appetizer, very simple and tasty. That’s the 5th and last for that day and that set.

The rest of the series of scallops in their shell :

Japanese sashimi (otsukuri)

fruity Korean sashimi

Creamy miso (brasero)

bataa-shoyu yaki (brasero)

An old anecdote… That was at work and we were “dispatched” in a company that also owned a (pretentious ?) little restaurant. Probably they were good cooks, I can’t tell. Mr. Boss was really huge with all the health problems that come with over-weight. At that time, he was on a strict. Surprisingly, he invited us for lunch. That could have been nice, but he had chosen the menu and everybody was served the same as himself. The main dish was a sealed shell like this, served on a pile of 3 huge precious plates, on superb table cloth, with silver cutlery, in a dining-room where you can’t help thinking “Oh my, what happens if I let anything fall on that white carpet that seem to be made of silk. Our lunch was just that. Oh, 3 leaves of cute bonsai salads that came before. No bread on the table (too much temptation for the dietomane). Carbonated water, and flat water, in heavy crystal glasses. 3 glasses for water. Isn’t that chic ? The third to make a cocktail of the 2 liquids, I guess.
There was a dessert, to make it totally cynical : a plate of fruits with half a lichee, a slice of grapefruit and a cherry. The meal was lasting eternally. You know, that was as grand-ma said : take your time, eat slowly, enjoy conversation, don’t stuff your face. We ate every leaf of parsley, every crumb of the sealing dough, the stalk of the cherry and the rind of grapefruit -they said it was organic. That was not that bad as we had a chunk of sugar and a Creap (faux cream) with coffee.
And after that, no more time to eat our bento lunch boxes, we were good for 8 hours of hunger, well of work, plus 20 looong minutes of greetings… and then as soon I was in the street I sprinted to the nearest takoyaki booth and devored dozens.

The scallop and a set of veggies.
Yellow paprika, parsley, peel of yuzu citrus, a few bits of raw ginger.

Nanohana, it’s rape green blossoms.

Wet that with awamori, the sticky rice alcohol popular in Okinawa. It’s sweet and fruity. If you are adventurous, there is this : a condiment made of the same alcohol and small Okinawan (fierce) small chilis.

Seal with dough. I just mixed flour and water and I don’t eat it, but you can use pastry dough and then it can be eaten.
Then bake 10 to 15 minutes in a very hot oven. At 10, it’s rare and the dough is under-cooked (not eatable). At 15, it’s well done and the dough is good to be eaten. I prefer my shellfish rare, which is why I don’t try to eat the dough. If you use frozen shellfish, you can put them frozen and get them rare at the time the dough is OK.

Then you open… and it’s full of fragrances.
Just add salt and a few drops of argan oil (fragrant sesame oil otherwise).
Serve with a glass of chilled San Pellegr… I’m kidding. You should have some awamori left.
It’s really fine… to start a meal.