Master Itamae (chef) Shimizu San of the Miyako Grand Hotel in downtown Los Angeles demonstrates how to prepare “Kochi-Style Katsuo no Tataki” in the classic form.
Tataki style is simple to prepare and offers a distinctive alternative to plain sashimi. Serve it with wasabi and soy sauce for a perfect fish dish.
Ingredients for This Seared Skipjack Tuna Recipe
- 2 Skipjack loins (or more if you have them)
- 1 Cup chopped green onions
- Ponzu sauce
Tataki is prepared by searing the loins of the fish with the skin left on, but the hard scale plate behind each pectoral fin must be removed. After removing this patch of hard skin, the loin of the fish is cut off and quartered.
After removing the bones from the loins, wipe the meat clean with a paper towel. Lightly salt the skin side of the fish.
According to Shimizu san, it is key to use a food-preparation torch to scorch the meat, rather than a frying pan with hot oil for two reasons. First, the temperature achievable in a frying pan is nowhere close to the direct flame of a food torch. This insures that the outside of the flesh and skin is seared, but also that the internal temperature of the raw fish is kept chilled and firm. Secondly, any oil used in a frying pan will change the delicate flavor of the raw or seared skipjack.
After searing the surface of the fish, the meat is immediately doused in ice water. This keeps the heat from penetrating to the chilled center of the raw flesh. Also, this firms up the seared portion, so it can easily be sliced with a sashimi-bocho (sashimi knife), but any sharp filet knife will also work fine.
Katsuo no Tataki is traditionally served with sliced green onions and ponzu sauce. Thinly sliced raw garlic is typically offered on the side, and makes a tasty addition to this very traditional Japanese dish.