This video is the first of several planned productions of Hetakuso Bocho (“Unskilled Knife”).
In the first episode, I gut and filet a striped pigfish, also known as an isaki in Japan. Isaki is best eaten in the summer months (June, July, August), can grow up to 50 cm, and fetch a relatively high price at market.
This fish is known to be tasty grilled or fried, for sushi or as sashimi.
Isaki have a reddish flesh that you might notice resembles red sea bream (when sliced for sashimi and sushi) but has a little more fat and softer flesh when eaten raw. If raw fish is not your thing, you need to be careful not to overcook isaki as doing so may result in it becoming dry and not so tasty. That is, unless you have some tartar or cocktail sauce, but in my opinion that doesn’t do justice to a fish that can cost $20 or more, and certainly not to be confused with the stuff you get for fish n’ chips.
Picking out a good Isaki can be difficult as the common rule of thumb involves checking the fish’s eyes — the more clear and full, the better — but with even good isaki the eyes are a bit cloudy. I always try to choose gerth over eyes, but if I can confirm both the better.