Thursday, May 26, 2011

Apple Wood Grilled Hamachi Kama with Yuzu Ponzu

Hamachi (Yellowtail) Kama (Collar) is amazing. I'm having trouble even coming up with more to say. It's usually grilled and served with ponzu and is a delicious bit of fish. Kama is often unavailable because the kitchen staff eats it before it ever makes it on a menu. Like the oysters that whoever is carving your Thanksgiving turkey ate long before anyone noticed them (See? You might not even know what the hell the "oysters" are! some a-hole in your family has been hiding them from you) Kama is the ultimate ChefSnack! The collar is the cheek of the fish, and is some of the most succulent and delicate meat you will ever have. You may also see salmon collar available at some Japanese restaurants and even tuna collar very rarely. I got this one at Nijiya Market for under $4. I see it served in restaurants for around $14. Score!

Ponzu is a simple sauce or dressing made from just a few ingredients, but one is the juice of yuzu, a Japanese lemon. If you don't have one (I sure as hell don't) you can buy bottled juice from a Japanese market or substitute in your favorite citrus. I really dig orange ponzu too. For this recipe, I used the bottled yuzu juice.

Apple Wood Grilled Hamachi Kama with Yuzu Ponzu

Preheat your grill to 400 degrees, and if you have any mild smoking wood chips handy, toss some in after a 30 minute soak. I had apple, so I used apple. It ROCKED.

Make your ponzu sauce:
3 parts soy sauce
2 parts rice wine vinegar
1 part yuzu juice
dash of sesame oil

Prepare Yellowtail Collar(s):
Sprinkle the fish all over with sea salt.
Lightly brush with peanut or vegetable oil.
Throw on the grill skin side down, and close the lid. Cook for 3 minutes.
Flip the fish, and spoon a couple tablespoons of ponzu sauce on the skin side of the fish (now facing up). Close the lid again, and cook another 2 or 3 minutes.
Start to grill skin side down. I used my trusty Big Green Egg which has also been called the Aguacate from time to time. 

Flip the fish one last time so that you can spoon on some more sauce and as soon as the sauce is on, remove the fish to a serving plate. Serve with chopsticks a dish of ponzu.
Just eat it! Don't be afraid to just jump in with your chopsticks and fingers to get all the meat.

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