Saba Bo-zushi (Rod-shaped mackerel sushi)
Most may imagine “oshi-zushi” or “battera” (kinds of pressed sushi) of Kansai area from the name “saba bo-zushi” (rod-shaped mackerel sushi) but bo-zushi has also existed in Edomae sushi before the Meiji Period.
To make Kansai style bo-zushi, sushi rice is pressed hard in a particular wooden box while the Edomae is rolled softly with “makisu” (thin mat woven from bamboo and string) to leave some air inside. Also, saba is less flavored than Kansai style.
“The quality and freshness of saba is very important because the fish is very lightly cured for bo-zushi. They are from Awaji in Hyogo Prefecture or Matsuwa in Kanagawa Prefecture, both caught by pole-and-line and very fresh.”
Mr. Suzuki says the size of saba is another important factor.
“Larger saba may look wonderful but tends to have no fat. Best size is about 700 to 800 grams, very balanced amount of fat good for bo-zushi.”
It is Sushi Suzuki style bo-zushi to put sweet and sour flavored “shiroita-konbu” (kelp with its surface scraped off until paper thin) on thickly sliced saba. The gentle sweetness of shroita-konbu becomes a nice accent and brings out the deep flavor of the autumn saba.