Simple, Flavorful, Perfection: Saba Shioyaki (Japanese Salt Grilled Mackerel)

Monahan's Seafood Market | Fresh Whole Fish, Fillets, Shellfish, Recipes, Catering & Lunch Counter-Ann Arbor, Michigan

Since day one at our fish market we have been inspired and influenced by the Japanese way with fish. Freshness, tradition, respectful handling and attention to detail, always with an emphasis on seasonality, their simple, beautiful presentations pay respect to all the wonderful ingredients.


Mackerel has always been one of Japan’s favorite fish (ours too). These fish are plentiful, healthful (full of omega 3s) with lots of flavor. We’ve sung their praises and have offered quite a few recipes. Today we’re going to share a classic Japanese mackerel recipe, Saba Shioyaki. This dish totally highlights the flavor of the fish in a style that brings out the best in such a simple, sparse way. A 20 minute salt cure will firm up the fillets, bring out the flavor and seal in the richness when cooked. Grated daikon radish offsets that richness and a squeeze of lemon gives a nice fresh acidic balance.

They call this dish “grilled mackerel” but that has a little different meaning than what we think of as grilled. Here in the States we usually think of “grilled” as something cooked over a grill. This dish in Japan is often cooked in a toaster oven or broiled in a regular oven. We do a “bake-broil” style and the mackerel cooks up moist and golden brown. We serve it with rice and maybe a simple Japanese style cucumber salad with rice vinegar, red onion and red pepper flakes. Simple, elegant and lovely. The Japanese way.

Saba Shioyaki- Salt Grilled Mackerel

Monahan's Seafood

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