After two months of being closed for renovations, the Lobster Place in Chelsea market has finally re-opened. It’s bigger and better so they say. Looks pretty much the same to me and I’m just glad to have my fish place back.
After months of omega-3 starvation, my body is literally DYING for some fish. Had a most excellent meal last night at Fishtail on the Upper East Side where the whole salt-baked branzino was soft and flavorful. One of the best bites I’ve ever had- just a tiny squeeze of lemon is all it needed.
One of these days I’m going to get the courage to cook a whole fish and I promise you’ll be the first to hear about it.
But now that the Lobster Place is back I can start cooking my own fish. And for the inaugural meal I made a broiled Hamachi collar. Hamachi is japanese for insanely delicious yellowtail collar. It’s the gross, bony part of the fish that holds the head onto the body. There are lots of delicious hidden pockets of flesh that really get to shine when broiled or torched.
You can find hamachi collar at many sushi places, often it’s not printed on the menu but is written in chalk of the specials board. The Lobster Place sells it for $14.00 a pound- each collar being about three-quarters of a pound.
The secret is to cook the collar dry with a just a tiny bit of salt. The flesh is actually pretty fatty which is why it’s so good. Literally, just a tiny bit of salt is all you need. And a really hot broiler and a good fan as well. Sometimes the fat catches on fire and produces a slightly unpleasant burning fishy smelling smoke -but a fan and an open window will take care of that pretty quickly.
And don’t forget to serve with freshly grated daikon radish and ponzu sauce!
Broiled Yellowtail Collar
Serves 2 as an appetizer
You will need:
1 whole yellowtail collar (About 3/4 lb)
1 pinch of salt (I used Maldon)
1/4 teaspoon oil
For the garnish:
1 2 inch piece daikon radish
1 Tablespoon ponzu (or 1 Tablespoon soy sauce with a squirt of lime juice)
1. Turn on the broiler in you over to the highest setting.
2. On a large baking sheet, place a piece of tin foil and drizzle with the tiniest amount of oil – this is so the hamachi won’t stick. Place the hamachi on the sheet and sprinkle with salt. Broil for about 7 minutes, until the flesh is crispy and there’s smoke pouring out of your oven.
3. Meanwhile, grate the daikon on the smallest wholes of your box grater (you don’t need to buy a special ginger grater or zester). Plate it with the ponzu in a small bowl.
4. After your hamachi looks deliciously browned, turn off the broiler but leave it it in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with daikon, ponzu and chop sticks.
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