My mother always tells us about holidays in Morecambe Bay as a child and how they would go treading for Dab. Sounds just like it is. You go walking about in the bay and when you step on a fish you don’t run screaming like a girl but instead you keep your foot on it and catch it for supper! Luckily I did not have to do that. This Dab came from Morrisons.
When I was living in Tokyo during my gap year a local restaurant owner took it upon himself to educate us about the joys of Japanese food. It was our favouite izakaya and whenever we went there, in addition to whatever we had ordered, he would bring us something new to try. In return we helped him practice his English. One day he presented us with a whole flat fish, simmered in a light soy stock. It was utterly delicious and a real biology lesson! Ever since I have been wanting to try recreating that dish. So, this Good Friday, I did.
2 dab, prepared for cooking (or any other small flatfish with heads and tails or without!)
1 cup dashi stock
3 tbsp sake
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
(1 large onion, sliced)*
– Put all of the liquids in a pan big enough to place all the fish in flat in one layer and bring to a simmer.
– Slash the dark skin of the fish diagonally with a very sharp knife.
– Place the fish in the simmering stock, dark skin up, and cook for 4 minutes, ladeling the stock over the top occasionally.
– Remove from the heat and place on a serving plate with a splash of the liquid and keep warm if doing the next step.
(- Add the onion to the stock and turn up the heat a bit. Simmer for 4 minutes, until the onion is soft.)
– Serve with sticky rice and any other Japanese dishes you fancy.
* Optional but very tasty. You don’t cook the onion and fish together because the onion flavour would overpower the delicate fish. This addition makes it a more substantial meal if you’re not serving anything else.