Category: Hikarimono (silver, shiny fish).
Season: from fall to early winter.
“秋刀魚” literally means “autumn sword fish”. Sanma travels from the cold waters of Hokkaido south towards Honshu in the autumn, and this is when its meat is the most flavorful. Hence, it is a fish that is always associated with the fall season.
Often served with grated ginger and finely chopped scallions (as pictured here), sanma nigiri can be prepared either raw or salted and vinegared; both methods are delicious. Since it is high in fat content, it must be extremely fresh if served raw. The fatty, rich taste resembles that of saba (mackerel), but “dialed down”, with a smooth, light flavor that even those who aren’t fans of strong hikarimono fish will appreciate.