Ike Jime is the next revolution for recreational anglers. The opportunity to catch any fish and turn it into superior grade seafood is beyond comprehension for most. The highest-grade seafood is usually reserved for high-priced sushi restaurants but the tools to perform Ike Jime are giving the recreational angler the same opportunity to do this with all the species they like to eat.
Many are used to their definition of fresh fish; however fresh fish is a constraint more than a status. Fresh is what sellers tell the consumer to make them eat the fish before it spoils. An Ike Jimed fish can be caught, filleted and kept in the fridge for 5 times as long as a fresh fish from the store. This leads to a better utilization and less waste of your fish. It will also help develop more flavor to your fish without having the "fishy" smell or taste that many dislike.
What are the Culinary Benefits of Ike Jime?
As referenced in the Complete Guide to Ike Jime, each step provides benefits that you will see overall when eating your fish. If you performed the first step the brain spike, for instance, you would notice less off flavors from the hormones that are usually excreted from a fish that is suffocating to death.
As you tack on each step, the benefits grow. Bleeding assists with spoilage and bacteria growth. The same bacteria most people associate with “fishy” smells and tastes. Shinkei Jime benefits the textures of the meat as it delays the time that rigor mortis occurs in the fish. This also means that at no point will the fish involuntarily exert energy into the muscles amplifying the benefits of the first step. Icing is a necessary step for not only spoilage like the bleeding assists in doing, but also fixes the fish’s core body temperature so when it finally does experience rigor mortis, the effects will not be as severe and the meat itself remains pure, firm but not chewy, soft but not mushy, and an all-around superior tasting product.
Why Restaurants Buy Ike Jimed Fish
Chef Michael Cimarusti is the owner and head chef at Providence Los Angeles, a fine-dining seafood restaurant that boasts two Michelin Stars. Excelling at fresh seafood options, Providence has been making steps towards a sustainable menu for years before it became the trendy thing to do.
Chef Michael spent time in the kitchen at Watergrill before opening Providence in 2005. Working at Watergrill - he became increasingly proficient at preparing seafood so when he decided to open his own fine-dining restaurant, specializing in seafood was the logical step. This is aside from the fact that Chef Michael is an avid fisherman. When the Chef has spare time you can find him on half-day and three-quarter day charter boats fishing the local waters around Los Angeles.
When you find a chef that also has a passion as an angler, you find the perfect combination to tell the story of Ike Jime. Chef Michael spent some time in Japan in 2009 where he learned what Ike Jime was and how to perform it. The results were amazing. The restaurant started purchasing Ike Jimed fish from overseas to supply their customers with the best quality seafood. They had no option but to buy imported fish at the time because Ike Jime was not as popular in the United States. Now, Providence is proud that they purchase much of their seafood from local commercial anglers, many of which are performing Ike Jime on their fish.
“The fish are just amazing. I recently purchased 100 pounds of fish from a local commercial fisherman who Ike Jimes his fish. Although we go through these fish in 3-4 days, I know that I can keep them for a week or more because the flavor will only get better. We have dry-aged some of these fish and the flavors become more pronounced – but not fishy. The skin dries out and allows us to change our techniques to provide different textures.”
The chef explained that fish that are Ike Jimed provide such a pleasant experience for those who taste them. He even boasted that he has opened the eyes of people who do not eat fish on the splendors of local seafood. He made the point that the spike and bleeding steps are processes that most people are doing already. The added wire makes a large difference and adds virtually no extra time to your fish processing post catch. He stated that one of the biggest benefits of Ike Jime is that once you have done it, you can store these fish and not have to freeze them or give them away. This by itself provides many benefits to you as an angler, and there are more where that comes from.
Chef Michael's Simple Fish Recipe
Simple yet delicious. Chef Michael starts with a mild white meat fish such as a rockfish, in this case bocaccio. Snapper, sea basses and most flatfish are great alternatives though.
The Chef starts with a simple seasoning on the fish. He uses espelette pepper which is similar to cayenne pepper for this. He sprinkles this on both sides. The fish then goes on a hot skillet with some oil in it. He likes to use meat weights to weigh down the fish to help it cook evenly and not curl. He cooks for a little bit and then flips it. Once he flips, he throws in a knob of butter. He bastes the fish with the butter until the fish is done. Then he takes the fish off the pan and puts it back on the heat.
Once the pan is back on the heat, he squeezes some lemon juice into the pan with the butter and lets the combination emulsify and foam for a short amount of time. Then it's time to serve. He plates the fish and bastes the meat with the sauce he made.