It’s wild. It’s Californian. It evokes thoughts of melodic crooning by piano while being fed delicate pink sashimi slices in the yellow moon light. (No? Not for you? Never mind.)
Anyways, yup – we’re talking yellowtail here folks. Wild California yellowtail, to be exact. You don’t actually think H&H would square you up with any of that farm raised shizzz do you? Much of the yellowtail you find these days (as in Hamachi at a sushi bar) is farmed…but that’s another post. Not to say feasting on big ol Hamachi Sunrise isn’t among my favorite things to do in this world, but… I digress.
Our yellowtail is caught by hook and line in Baja, CA and flown to us within 48 hours in pristine condition. We are lucky to get the extreme hook up on the yellowtail most years in our own home – it is one of the main fish the hubby-type guy likes to sport spearfish for. Hans heads just off the coast of southern CA to the Cortez banks several times a year and we eat it ’til we can eat it no longer. Here’s a picture of a trophy yellowtail he shot last year..
Yellowtail is also known as Cali Jacks, not to be confused with Yellowfin tuna. It is not a tuna, it is part of the Jack family. Compared to the Hamachi you will find at sushi bars, wild yellowtail is a bit darker with a slightly grainier texture. It is suuuuuuper delicious in flavor and super hearty – it stands up to grilling and most roasting techniques very well. It’s got a nice high fat content – think salmon-esque. I actually often tell my customers that if they have favorite way of cooking salmon they can do the yellowtail just the same. These good fats make it nice and healthy and keep it m-m-m-moist. It has a similar diet to salmon which must attribute to the texture similarities – they are carnivorous and feed on a variety of fish such as mackerel, sardines, anchovies, squid, crab, and smelt.
Let’s get RAW. Yes, I said eat it raw. So good and perfectly safe to do so. I am linking a couple incredible-looking sashimi prep recipes as well as a spicy sushi roll recipe because it’s just so good this way. Steer clear of the darker meat close to the skin for eating raw though as it tends to be a bit stronger. I pass that part onto my spoiled kitties. They love. Purrr for days.
Sustainability: The MBA Seafood Watch calls California yellowtail a “Good Alternative” thanks to an overall steady population size, moderate habitat impacts and moderately effective management. There are many fish named yellowtail around the world and numerous market names. Be sure to ask where your yellowtail comes from to ensure you are eating sustainably – wild is key. And of course, we highly suggest keepin’ it local – obvi.
Let’s get cookin’: Yellowtail is a super versatile fish. As I said, it can be served raw or cooked similarly to salmon. It’s great lightly seared, marinated then roasted, grilled, or braised. It can also be simply seasoned with salt for grilling. Salt and high heat bring out the sweet, delicate flavor. Dang. I’m hungry.
As always I try to compile my favorite recipes showcasing various cooking techniques and I hope you know by now no recipe will make it on my blog unless it’s healthy. Sometimes it’s just so hard for me to narrow them down to a few – they are just all lookin’ too good today. Hopefully you may enjoy or simply be inspired by one of these recipes…
Pan-Grilled Yellowtail with Soba Noodle Salad (meh, skip the noodles —> sub broccoli)
Don’t be shy…I love it when you show off your skillz. Post for all the world to see here on our Facebook page or keep it between you and me if you prefer by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pretty please?
With fishy love from your very own fish mongeress…