Hokkaido's Home Cooking (3) - Saffron Cod

The name for Saffron Cod in Japanese, "Komai," is written with Chinese characters the mean "ice," "below," and "fish." The reason for this, which might be a bit obvious, is due to the fact that it's most often caught during mid-winter ice fishing. In many Hokkaido homes dried saffron cod is often enjoyed by Japanese dads with a bit of alcohol after a hard day's work.
This is a fish you can find on the menu of many traditional Japanese restaurants across Hokkaido. Of course, dried saffron cod is also available in most souvenir shops.
These fish are thoroughly dried, and a bit hard, so here's a trick to make them easier to eat! Wrap the dried fish in a newspaper and pound them with a hammer before serving.
I'll talk more about dried fish in the next installment of this series, so for this article I'd like to focus on raw saffron cod.
The cod I was able to buy at my supermarket was a bit small, but it's currently in season so it was super fresh!
After lightly broiling the fish, be sure to add mayonnaise and "shichimi" (a mix of seven spices) for flavor. This is a treat that is best enjoyed with your hands, and the bones are easier to remove! Long ago this dish would be roasted on top of a coal burning stove.
Saffron cod provide one of the quintessential tastes of Hokkaido winter. This winter, if you see any for sale when you're out and about be sure to give it a try! It really is delicious.
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba)