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Mackerel or saba, not to be confused with sanma/mackerel pike, is a fish eaten over the whole Northern Hemisphere and does come under many varieties and names.
In Japan it is mainly called “Saba”, “Masaba” or “Sekisaba”.
“Saba” is written 鯖 in Japanese, that is a combination of kanji characters for “fish” and “blue”!
Here, it is mainly caught off Oita, Saga Prefecture (Kyushu), although quite a few are caught off our coasts. They feed on plankton mainly.
(mackerel catch in Yaizu Harbour)
They are prepared and cooked in many guises.
In France, my birthplace, they are steamed and then pickled in white wine and spices. In Northern Europe they are also eaten half raw as smorgasbrod and pickled fish.
It can be appreciated as sashimi, but it must be absolutely fresh and is best served with grated fresh ginger and lemon:
As far as sushi is concerned, “masaba” variety is best:
It is especially popular as “oshizushi” (pressed sushi).
My preference goes for konbu zume saba. the mackerel is kept inside a variety of wet seaweed for an hour or so before put whole on top of a long “bar” of rice, then cut to size:
(picture taken at Tomii estaurant, Shizuoka City)

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