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Entertaining friends and family with a homecooked meal is something many amateur chefs cherish. Gathering friends and family for a hearty meal without having to deal with the hustle and bustle of a local restaurant is a relaxing way to reconnect and make new memories.Such hosting duties also enable home chefs to try their hands at more exotic recipes. Perhaps due to the growing popularity of celebrity chefs who specialize in foods from all over the globe, more and more home chefs are making bolder choices in their own kitchens. Those who want to try their hand at Japanese fare for their next dinner party should consider the following recipe for "Spanish Mackerel Grilled With Citrus Sauce" from Takashi Sugimoto's and Marcia Iwatate's "Shunju: New Japanese Cuisine" (Periplus).
Spanish Mackerel Grilled With Citrus Sauce
1 cup plain sugar syrup
1/2 cup water
4 kinkan (kumquats)
61/2 tablespoons koikuchi shoyu (soy sauce)
61/2 tablespoons mirin
61/2 tablespoons sake
Zest from 1/2 yuzu (Japanese citron), substitute with one lemon, grated
4 filets Spanish mackerel, about 4 ounces each, cut in three-section filet
8 kogomi (fiddleheads), total about 2 ounces, blanched in salted water, then refreshed in cold water (optional)
1. Put 1 cup plain sugar syrup and 1/2 cup water, and the whole kumquats, in a small saucepan, and bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Place soy sauce, mirin and sake in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and cool.
3. Add grated citron zest to the cooled sauce and pour over the fish, then leave to marinate for 3 or 4 hours.
4. Remove the mackerel from the marinade, skewer each slice with 2 metal or bamboo skewers (soaked in water), and grill on a charcoal grill or broil under an oven grill, taking care not to burn the fish.
5. When nicely browned on both sides and thoroughly grilled, arrange each filet on a serving platter and garnish with poached kumquats and blanched fiddleheads.