|Spanish mackerel splayed and deboned|
A few times a character eats salted, dried horse mackerel, which is a food I was unfamiliar with before these books. I assumed it was a fully dried fish that was reconstituted in water or broth for a soup. But it's actually a semi-cured, air-dried fish that gets grilled gently on both sides and is served whole, with rice, miso soup with tofu, grated daikon radish, and a green salad. At least that's how Murakami's characters normally enjoy it.
One YouTube video mentioned this dish, being only semi-cured, is normally stored frozen until use. But I haven't found it in any local Asian grocers. So I decided to make it myself. I've never seen horse mackerel before, but we can get plenty of fresh Spanish mackerel here in Pennsylvania. Information on making this at home was sparse, but I did find one site in particular that helped. But I was perplexed by the idea that the fish would be dried in the sun. My brother has sent me photos of white fleshed fish drying in sun in Korea, but wouldn't the fat in oily mackerel go rancid?
|Curing mackerel with salt, wrapped in kombu|
|Mackerel After Drying|
|Grilled Dried Mackerel with Rice and Miso|