Buri-zanmai Series: Buri Kama Shioyaki (Salt-grilled Fatty Yellowtail Collar)
Buri-zanmai Series (Part 1): Winter is the time for buri, or yellowtail. The meat is laden with oil and rich flavor. Here we make Buri Kama Shioyaki.
Buri Kama Shioyaki:
Kama is the ‘collar’ of a fish, the area between the gill cover and the pectoral fin. This area and the head of the fish is said to have the most succulent meat, but it is difficult to remove. So in Japan, the kama of larger fish is grilled or simmered and the meat is gently teased out with chopsticks.
Preparation is simple. You just need some fish collars and salt.
Rub the buri with course salt and grill or broil. This can be done on a Western style charcoal or gas barbecue. This kama, as it is usually thick needs to cook thoroughly, so avoid too high a flame from the start.
In our Japanese gas range fish grill, this took about 15 minutes to cook. Paku says to start on the skin side of the kama. Don’t worry about burning the skin. The skin is not eaten and it will protect the meat from burning.
As the kama cooks, some of the salt will be lost to oil dripping off the fish. When you turn the fish over, you might want to add more salt to the ‘meat side’. Have a look and use your own judgment.
This is an easy dish to cook and if the kama is large enough, it can probably be eaten easily with a fork and knife as well.
I have heard the salmon collars can sometimes be had for free at a fish market or supermarket in the U.S. Try asking for the collar of any large fish that might be available, salmon, tuna, etc.
Try this dish for a dinner party, it will surely wow everybody!
Salted Kama and Other Parts
On the left is the mouth and on the right is the kama. The curved section is the gill area. The meat of the kama is the bottom side of the fish, the belly. The belly of the tuna is where the best toro is. It’s fatty, just like where bacon comes from on a pig!
On the left is the kama, skin side down.
Kama Shioyaki and Yuzu
A squeeze of yuzu or lemon goes well with any shioyaki, especially buri. Notice the color of the kama, the golden brown is not teriyaki or some other kind of sauce, but the natural color of well-grilled buri.
Kama Shioyaki – That’s a lot of meat in there!
Actually, there is a lot more meat in the kama than may appear to the eye. These few bits of bone and skin is all that is left.
Have you eaten fish collars? If so, where? How was it cooked? What kind of fish?