Discovering this particular product represents one of those bizarre coincidences that sometimes happens in life… One morning I was corresponding with a friend about pickling and I mentioned that I liked pickled eggs but had only had one sort here in Iqaluit. The brand I mentioned were brine pickled (with a little touch of vinegar, as I recall) and I only ever bought one jar. They were, I told my friend, very nicely cooked with the yolks well centered, and could be useful for masking devilled eggs, or the like, but they were pretty bland and could use have used something to spice them up a bit.

Well, that very afternoon, while shopping, I saw these ‘Bad Boys’, described as ‘Spicy Pickled Eggs’, and I had to buy them. The jar lists onions, mustard seeds and ‘spices’ on the label (one wonders what they think mustard seeds are?), but there are black peppercorns in the mix, as well as enough dried chili to turn the vinegar a pinkish hue. On initial inspection, it certainly sounded like these would be an improvement over the first variety…

Sadly, this was not the case. The pickling medium was very tasty, and did penetrate the eggs to some degree, but, unfortunately, they just weren’t well cooked. They were overdone, leaving the texture soft and not very pleasant, and it is damned difficult getting an egg out of the jar without breaking it. They were so friable, I pretty much destroyed too before finally fishing out the one you see in the above picture. Naturally, in that state they don’t even have the advantage of being used for anything involving presentation… I guess the only thing I can do is to have a go at pickling some eggs myself.

The radish in this particular case is the large variety most commonly known by the Japanese name Daikon. This very versatile vegetable is preserved by a variety of different techniques all across Asia, especially by lactic acid fermentation, but the most basic method is by salt curing the flesh to dehydrate it and prevent microbial spoilage. The Chinese were probably the first to treat the vegetable this way but the technique is widely used elsewhere, especially in Korea and Thailand. Indeed, the product pictured above is of Thai manufacture… Read More →

A while ago, I did a ‘Notable Nosh’ post featuring a particular pickled-herring preparation known as Rollmops. At that time, I mentioned that I would be interested to see how the pickled fish would work in Sushi. Originally, I thought in terms of a ‘Nigiri’ style sushi but, instead, I went another way…

There is a Japanese preparation consisting of very lightly pickled Mackerel that I just love and often have as a sashimi selection. Whole fillets are sometimes pressed with large blocks of rice to make a specific sort of sushi and I thought that Rollmops, though not nearly as delicate in flavor, would work nicely. An added incentive to trying this dish was that it gave me an opportunity to use my ‘Maki Sushi Ki’ mold… Read More →

Rollmops, for the uninitiated, are a delicacy composed of herring fillets that are rolled, usually around a gherkin or other filling, and pickled in slightly sweetened vinegar along with onions and various whole spices such as black pepper and mustard seed. They are very rich (just a few pieces are usually sufficient for a little snack) and my wife and I both love them… Read More →

Typically, Japanese Sushi and Sashimi preparations involve raw fish (where fish is used) but this is not always the case. Indeed, some varieties, most notably mackerel, are lightly first lightly pickled using salt and sweetened vinegar. In some ways, Saba Sashimi, or Sabazushi (as preparations with Sushi rice are known) is a bit like a Japanese counterpart to the Latin American dish called Ceviche that I sampled and then wrote about a few days ago. Generally however, Saba undergoes a very brief pickling (often less than an hour), while Ceviche is typically (although not always) marinated for several hours.

I have eaten and enjoyed Japanese style pickled mackerel many times, but the day after sampling the aforementioned Ceviche, I hastened to the Wasabi restaurant in Ottawa’s Byward Market to taste it again for the purposes of comparing and contrasting the two. At Wasabi, Saba is offered as both a sashimi and a sushi item and, not being able to decide between the two, I opted for both.

As you can see, the two delicacies were plated with wasabi (which I am not keen on), shredded daikon, and pickled ginger. Soy sauce was also provided on the side. There were three pieces of fish and, though the single piece of sushi was not terribly well formed, the color of the skin was absolutely gorgeous. I dipped the very edge of the sushi rice in just a little soy (foregoing the ginger entirely) but I sampled the sashimi slices without any accompaniments at all as I always think this is overkill.

As for the taste, the fish was clearly very fresh and nicely textured and the pickling was lightly done and added just the right fillip of flavor. I enjoyed the Ceviche I sampled the day before but, though I will try it again, I don’t think it matches the lovely, sophisticated simplicity of the Japanese preparation. I think I could quite happily eat this every day…