We meet this dish on Polar Dorm’s Welcoming Party for Soma wherein we meet all the dorm members and have a brief introduction of their specialty.
And of course, this is the dish that served as the hint to Isshiki’s specialty and his past.
As Souma noticed Seerfish or Japanese Spanish Mackerel cooked with pepper is a traditional Japanese food which led him to ask if Isshiki came from a Japanese restaurant. Two hundred chapters later, this hypothesis would be proven right when we find out that Isshiki hails from a prestigious cooking family that specializes in traditional Japanese cooking (Washoku).
Second, this dish serves as Souma’s first introduction to the might of the elite ten. It shows that Souma’s boast of standing on the top of the Totsuki Academy will need
Also, we have the talk between Isshiki-sempai and Ibusaki after the match:
Isshiki: Fu… Fu… Fu… I can’t wait to see what happens. I mean Souma-kun tied with me. With the 7th seat! He will surely get good results.
Ibuki: Don’t make me laugh…. in that showdown, you weren’t serious at all. You didn’t make one of your specialties. For you that dish, was too much of a safe bet, wasn’t it?
Isshiki: I wonder what you are talking about. I put my best effort in cooking it, you know?
We can infer from this talk that Isshiki is the type to hide his power level and his real cooking ability might be higher. Also, even though Souma showed potential and tied with Isshiki, it doesn’t mean that his ability is elite 10 level right now.
Finally, this dish is considered too much a safe bet to be Isshiki’s specialty.
We know that Isshiki’s true specialty is an “extremely aggressive washoku”. This dish, on the other hand, is more in line with the traditional washoku which emphasize simple and harmonious flavor. Thus, while the dish shows Isshiki’s roots, it isn’t his specialty.
About the recipe, let’s talk why the dish brings spring to mind.
First, the Seerfish or “Sawara” is a high-quality fish known for its white and soft fish meat. This fish is considered the best mackerel fish in Japan. The best time to find it is of course in Spring or early Summer. You can even see it in the kanji.
This is the kanji for Sawara (鰆).
魚 – fish
春 – Spring
That said, you can also enjoy Sawara in winter called Kansawara. Kan sawara is fatter and has a more buttery taste than the leaner version in Spring. This makes said variety popular for sushi. Take note, Sawara sushi can have a very fishy smell if not eaten fresh.
Finally, the side dish made from the spring cabbage is another callback to said season. Also, a nod to Isshiki’s farming hobby and how Isshiki incorporate what he grows in his dishes.
Isshiki’s Mackerel Dish by Shokugeki IRL – a post about how to make this dish in real life!
Roasted Mackerel with Garlic and Paprika – a recipe from Gordon Ramsey, the top food critic. An amazing dish of marinated mackerel with garlic and paprika served with softly mashed potatoes.
Samchi Jorim 삼치조림 (Braised Spanish Mackerel) – a Korean take on this recipe.