Yellowtail are easily recognised by the yellow strip across their body and their yellow tail. Yellowtail is a fish farmed in Japan and referred to in sushi bars as hamachi. It’s a great fish to eat raw so lends itself to sushi. Sometimes you hear of Yellowtail sushi being referred to as buri, this means it is from an adult fish, whereas Hamachi means from a young fish. It is grown in floating cages or netpens in Japan and harvested at around 15 to 20 pounds. Once harvested the fish are iced whilst being very carefully handled to ensure there is minimal bruising of the meat.
Yellowtail is also caught at sea in California and is farmed in Mexico and Australia. Yellowtail only live in water with a temperature range of 12 to 30 degrees centigrade. They can grow up to 200 cm long and weigh as much as 130 pounds. They feed on mackerel, sardines, squid and various crustaceans. From an environmental perspective the best place to source yellowtail is from the wild in Mexico.
Farmed Yellowtail meat is generally pink. Yellowtail fish caught in the wild may be different in colour due to differing levels of fat in the fish. There may also be a line of dark meat along the edge. This line is a characteristic of fish that are able to travel across vast oceans.
Yellowtail is usually served raw, thinly sliced for Sushi, but it can also be grilled, roasted or braised.
At The 9th Floor we smoke the fish to bring out its subtle flavours. See our most recent dish here.
Smoking fish is a great way to impart gentle flavours into the fish. Before the fish is smoked it is soaked in a brining liquid (salt and water) for up to an hour. The brining process helps to remove blood from the meat of the fish and adds flavour. You mustn’t leave this fish in the brining liquid for more than an hour otherwise the fish will taste too salty. Sometimes people add to the brining liquid some sugar, garlic and black pepper. After brining the fish is rinsed with cold water and then patted dry with paper towels before being left to cool uncovered for a couple of hours. The fish is then brushed with oil and placed in the smoker for 4 to 5 hours depending on how strong you want the smoke flavor.
4 yellowtail fillets
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sake
3 tablespoons mirin
Simply sprinkle salt on the yellowtail and then fry until browned. Remove the fish and wipe the oil off the pan. Put the fish back in the pan with the sake, mirin and soy sauce and let the fish and sauce simmer for just a few minutes before serving.
Pan Fried Yellowtail
So as with most fish there doesn’t need to be alot of time and fussing around with a fish to produce a deliciously simple meal. For pan fried yellowtail all you need to do is dust the fillet with plain flour, season with salt and pepper and then place the fish in a frying pan with a knob of butter. A squeeze of lemon juice and an extra turn of black pepper and your fish is ready to go.
6 yellowtail fillets
1 shallot, thinly sliced
3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
Chopped sun dried tomatos
Handful of chopped black olives
6 chopped anchovy fillets
Small handful of capers
Zest of 2 lemons
Flat leaf parsley
Mix the onion with the balsamic vinegar. Add the sun dried tomatos, olives, anchovies, capers, lemon zest and a good glug of olive oil to the bowl. Season to taste. Next, brush the fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook the fish, filleted side down on a barbeque or on a searing hot skillet for a couple of minutes each side and then remove from the heat. Finally add the parsley to the mixture and pile on top of the grilled pieces of fish. Serve with warm potatos or caulflower rice.