An excerpt from a recent email, describing this incredible little dish we had at a recent sushi dinner:
The whole meal was exquisite — about 20 courses of sashimi/”things to have with sake”, followed by about 10 courses of sushi.
One of the sashimi courses we had was horse mackarel (aji), chopped up into fairly small pieces along with miso paste, ginger and negi, a long, leek-like scallion common here. We each got a small dish of this simple mixture.
Since mackarel is a pretty oily fish, I was expecting some of that flavor to show up, but it didn’t. In fact, the taste of the mixture didn’t even really register — after the first bite, you just knew you wanted more.
After we had finished eating, the chef told us the name of the dish. I didn’t get the full name (my Japanese is still pretty rusty), but it was derived from “neburu”, which means “to lick”. He explained that it gets that name because everyone who has it licks the plate clean — we were not an exception. The dish was one of the clearest demonstrations of umami that I’ve ever tasted.
It reminded me of the grapefruit cells + black truffle + salt. A small dish where the whole is significantly greater than the sum of its parts.Posted by pmk at May 28, 2004 4:17 AM | TrackBack