Ankimo and Aji Sashimi Don (Monkfish Liver and Spanish Mackerel)

I had great pleasure today at the Japanese supermarket sampling the seasonal produce and while I never intended to prepare fish tonight, it became inevitable after seeing the fish section. Under the ‘In Season’ section was a strange package of almost grotesque, but beautifully sliced blob of beige with intriguing orange marbling. On closer inspection, the label says ‘Ankimo Monkfish Liver’ and I jumped. As someone who is always ready to takeover Andrew Zimmern should he retire, I have always wanted to try monkfish liver, also known as foie gras of the sea.

They smell extremely fishy but nothing will stop me from having a taste. I needed another fish to pair for the rice bowl I’m making and decided on Aji (Spanish Mackerel). The great thing about Japanese food is you can get all your ingredients luxuriously prepared for you and all you need to do is to assemble. Spanish Mackerel looks ‘fierce’ enough to match the exotic looking monkfish liver, and while it looks like a fish that would smell, it is actually rather light and delicate.

So now that I have my seafood, I need to get some equally formidable greens to match. A quick stop at the Korean section solved the problem. Kim-chi chives. The chives will remove any fishy after-taste in the mouth and hot chilli will mask any fear (should my parents get turned off by the liver).

To jazz things up further, I bought some plum rice seasoning to flavour the rice. They are tangy, extremely appetizing and adds a lovely fuchsia to the rice.

Since there would be no cooking (apart from the rice), the focus would be on the presentation and boy, it’s tough! I had some ebiko (shrimp roe) but they kept rolling off the rice and getting everywhere. Finally, I got everything together and here’s what it looks like.

Taste wise, I think I paired the ingredients rather well. Monkfish liver at first taste was slightly fishy and metallic, but after a few seconds, it melted to a delicate texture not unlike good foie gras with a hint of cod liver oil. It is certainly an acquired taste but it is wonderful when eaten with some grated radish and dipped in soy. Tonight’s dinner was definitely fun and fulfilling, and more importantly, without pots and pans to scrub.

3 Responses to “Ankimo and Aji Sashimi Don (Monkfish Liver and Spanish Mackerel)”
  1. Wow, this looks delicious! I would love to try monkfish liver one day. I totally need to find a place to buy the plum seasoning for rice – that sounds so interesting.

    • foodandscent says:

      Shouldn’t be too hard to find them. You can find them in any asian/jap mart. They come in different flavours – plum, sakura, fish, seaweed, egg etc. They’re great for making rice balls for the kids’ lunch boxes!

  2. Rachel says:

    How did I miss this??? Gorgeous! Congrats on the foodgawker feature, Eugene!

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