Cured Tai (Japanese snapper)

Cured Tai (Japanese Snapper)

This past weekend I made my monthly run across the Hudson to Mitsuwa for Japanese groceries. Their selection is quite impressive and I’m always finding new stuff to buy. Going on an empty stomach would be a mistake for the wallet, but thankfully they have a decent food court which happens to have one of my favourite bowls of ramen in the area. But I digress…

Recent beef find aside, I usually make the trek out to Edgewater for their large selection of fresh sashimi grade seafood. Since you want to eat sashimi as fresh as possible it’s usually best to eat it the day you buy it. To make my haul last a bit longer I buy a couple types of fish specifically for curing in salt. This makes it last a few days or longer (depending on the amount of salt you use).

Weight on tai to press it

One of the the best fish for curing is Tai. This fish is loaded with umami and once cured can be eaten drizzled in olive oil, on a salad, or over a bowl of rice with hot green tea poured on top (ochazuke) which gently cooks the fish and turns the tea into a savory broth. If I’m eating it straight I’ll usually use less salt, but if I’m going to use it for ochazuke I’ll load it up with plenty of salt as it seasons the broth.

6 oz sashimi grade Tai
3 pieces of dashi konbu (kelp) rehydrated (about 5″ by 4″)
lots of good salt (I used smoked salt)

Using a very sharp knife (sashimi knife if you have one), slice the fish as thin as you can.

On a flat plate lay down a paper towel and put a piece of konbu on top. Sprinkle a thin even layer of salt on the konbu.

Lay half the sliced Tai on the salted konbu in a single layer and then cover with more salt. Layer on another slice of Konbu then repeat using the rest of the Tai. Cover with another layer of konbu and a paper towel.

Place a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy (I use a 1 qt Le Creuset filled with water). Then stick the entire assembly in the fridge overnight. Provided you used enough salt, it should keep for at least a week (although I usually eat it before then). You could probably make it last even longer if you submerged it in olive oil after it’s done curing.

  • http://www.justgetfloury.blogspot.com/ Ginny

    ok, i’ve made a decision! I am going to come over and sit at your elbow as you teach me how to cook all these great Japanese recipes! I love them!

  • http://www.justgetfloury.blogspot.com/ Ginny

    ok, i’ve made a decision! I am going to come over and sit at your elbow as you teach me how to cook all these great Japanese recipes! I love them!

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    It’s funny how something so simple can be so madly delicious. Pouring green tea over to make a broth sounds fantastic. I’m loving all your preservation recipes! :)

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    It’s funny how something so simple can be so madly delicious. Pouring green tea over to make a broth sounds fantastic. I’m loving all your preservation recipes! :)

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com/ Peter

    Absolutely gorgeous…the essence of seafood..fresh and practically raw!

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com Peter

    Absolutely gorgeous…the essence of seafood..fresh and practically raw!

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    never go food shopping hungry…bad move, cause you always ending buying about 3 times the amount u actually set out for.

    this looks yum. thanks for the curing tip & green tea broth headsup too.x

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    never go food shopping hungry…bad move, cause you always ending buying about 3 times the amount u actually set out for.

    this looks yum. thanks for the curing tip & green tea broth headsup too.x

  • http://belachan2.blogspot.com Little Corner of Mine

    Absolutely beautiful!

  • http://belachan2.blogspot.com/ Little Corner of Mine

    Absolutely beautiful!

  • http://a-good-eye.blogspot.com/ candyce

    wow, thanks for this tip!
    i’m making a run to mistuwa today! :)

  • http://a-good-eye.blogspot.com candyce

    wow, thanks for this tip!
    i’m making a run to mistuwa today! :)

  • http://www.noblepig.com/ noble pig

    Wow, you are so lucky to have a great source as you do. I am not so lucky unless I trek into San Francisco (easier said than done).

    Thanks for sharing, it looks and sounds divine.

  • http://www.noblepig.com/ noble pig

    Wow, you are so lucky to have a great source as you do. I am not so lucky unless I trek into San Francisco (easier said than done).

    Thanks for sharing, it looks and sounds divine.

  • http://chewonthatblog.com/ Hillary

    You seem to use a lot of fresh and very interesting ingredients! That tuna poke and the beef look outstanding. Where do you do your shopping?

  • http://chewonthatblog.com Hillary

    You seem to use a lot of fresh and very interesting ingredients! That tuna poke and the beef look outstanding. Where do you do your shopping?

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That cured tai looks good. I like the idea of curing the fish to make it last longer.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That cured tai looks good. I like the idea of curing the fish to make it last longer.

  • http://accidentalscientist.blogspot.com/ michelle

    Wow – I love the Asian flair to some of your recipes. I actually tried something similar to this with tuna a long time ago and it was fabulous, so I can just imagine that this would be wonderful. I’m hoping to add more of that sort of cooking to my repertoire while I’m living in Hawaii because there are so many “unusual” ingredients available here (even in the drugstores!). I’m definitely coming back to your site because I’d like to try some of your recipes as inspiration! Thanks for coming by my site so that I could find you…

  • http://accidentalscientist.blogspot.com michelle

    Wow – I love the Asian flair to some of your recipes. I actually tried something similar to this with tuna a long time ago and it was fabulous, so I can just imagine that this would be wonderful. I’m hoping to add more of that sort of cooking to my repertoire while I’m living in Hawaii because there are so many “unusual” ingredients available here (even in the drugstores!). I’m definitely coming back to your site because I’d like to try some of your recipes as inspiration! Thanks for coming by my site so that I could find you…

  • http://happylovestrawberry.blogspot.com/ Indigo

    That picture is stunning… I’d love to try sashimi but I don’t think my family would get into the spirit ^__^. One day!

  • http://happylovestrawberry.blogspot.com/ Indigo

    That picture is stunning… I’d love to try sashimi but I don’t think my family would get into the spirit ^__^. One day!

  • marc

    Hahaha Ginny, my door is always open:-)

    Thanks Laura, green tea over rice is a pretty typical japanese breakfast food, I guess it’s a bit like oatmeal or something in the west. They put different stuff on top like salted kelp, or pickled plums, or salted grilled salmon, or salted cod roe, the theme being something very salty that releases flavors the tea. Other condiments that go on top are things like small rice crackers, nori, wasabi, shiso, etc.

    Thanks Peter, Diva, and Little Corner of Mine.

    Candyce, hoep your Mitsuwa run went well.

    Noble pig, if you live to the south there is a Mitsuwa in San Jose, or if you’re up north, there’s an Otos Marketplace in Sac.

    Hillary, I go to Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ, but there are Japanese grocery stores all over the country.

    Thank Kevin.

    michelle, I’ve never tried it with Tuna, but this also works great with bonito (a type of tuna I think). You can also cure both these in soy sauce. It’s been years since i’ve been to Hawaii, but I imagine you get a lot of exotic seafood and tropical things.

    Thanks Indigo, If you do ever get around to trying it, do a bit of research (yelp and zagat are pretty good guides) and make sure you find a good restaurant around you. There are lot of places that make questionable sushi and sashimi that could ruin your first experience.

  • marc

    Hahaha Ginny, my door is always open:-)

    Thanks Laura, green tea over rice is a pretty typical japanese breakfast food, I guess it’s a bit like oatmeal or something in the west. They put different stuff on top like salted kelp, or pickled plums, or salted grilled salmon, or salted cod roe, the theme being something very salty that releases flavors the tea. Other condiments that go on top are things like small rice crackers, nori, wasabi, shiso, etc.

    Thanks Peter, Diva, and Little Corner of Mine.

    Candyce, hoep your Mitsuwa run went well.

    Noble pig, if you live to the south there is a Mitsuwa in San Jose, or if you’re up north, there’s an Otos Marketplace in Sac.

    Hillary, I go to Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ, but there are Japanese grocery stores all over the country.

    Thank Kevin.

    michelle, I’ve never tried it with Tuna, but this also works great with bonito (a type of tuna I think). You can also cure both these in soy sauce. It’s been years since i’ve been to Hawaii, but I imagine you get a lot of exotic seafood and tropical things.

    Thanks Indigo, If you do ever get around to trying it, do a bit of research (yelp and zagat are pretty good guides) and make sure you find a good restaurant around you. There are lot of places that make questionable sushi and sashimi that could ruin your first experience.

  • http://www.thekneadforbread.com/ Chuck

    I wish I could just reach through the monitor and grab a small piece of that fish to try. I don’t get a chance very often to have fish. I have to start making it more ofter. Marc, you are inspiring me. Thank you!

  • http://www.thekneadforbread.com Chuck

    I wish I could just reach through the monitor and grab a small piece of that fish to try. I don’t get a chance very often to have fish. I have to start making it more ofter. Marc, you are inspiring me. Thank you!

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!