|Posted on February 2, 2011 at 2:16 AM|
As I was gettig ready to leave Sado Island in Niigata last week, I came upon the most beautiful string of fish. I crossed the snow covered street to take a closer look. It was Himono-salted dry fish. The fish had just been salted that morning and hung to dry.
I grew up eating a lot of Himono, having lived near the seaside of Kamakura as a child. When I walked by the local fishmonger's shop on my way to school, I would always find him cleaning fish. He made himono first thing in the morning. I would watch him while I waited for the bus to come. He split and gutted the fish one by one, and dropped the innards into the stone tub right next to his cutting board where the fishmonger kept his gold fish as pets. These gold fish were fed so well, they were as big as Koi.
To make himono, the fish are soaked in a brine and then laid flat on a large screen to dry in the open air. The sun and the wind aid in the drying. This method of drying retains the umami of the fish, without drying the meat out. Kamakura was famous for mackerel Himono, Aji-no-himono. It was my favorite way to eat fish.