The lingcod fishery off the coast, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound remains good, with anglers scoring limits on one of the best-tasting, but ugliest white fish.
This week, Chef Shota Nakajima, owner of Naka — a kaiseki-inspired restaurant — on Capitol Hill, shares a highly pleasing, easy-to-prepare double-fried lingcod recipe.
Nakajima began cooking in Seattle-area Japanese restaurants in his teens, and fell in love with all aspects of restaurant life.
At age 18, he moved to Osaka, Japan to learn the depth of his native culture and to attend Tsuji Culinary Arts School, one of Japan’s most prestigious.
Following graduation, Nakajima had the opportunity to apprentice under Michelin Star chef Yasuhiko Sakamoto. When Nakajima returned to Seattle, he worked for Chef Taichi Kitamura at Sushi Kappo Tamura in 2011 and 2012.
In 2014, he opened his own catering business, Kappo Kitchen, and that December, he won the Seattle round of the World Washoku Challenge. With great anticipation from fans of his beautiful, stylized Japanese cooking, Shota opened Naka in June of 2015.
The lingcod fishing off the coast at Westport, Ilwaco, La Push and Neah Bay has been off-the-charts good when the weather and ocean conditions allow charter boats out to the fishing grounds. Most are using flounder for bait to catch lingcod.
In Puget Sound it has been fair to good for lingcod off Possession Bar on the south side of Whidbey Island; along the breakwaters at Elliott Bay, Shilshole and Edmonds marinas; Point Evans; south of Hat Island; southeast of Alki Point near the green buoys; and Toliva Shoals. In the Strait of Juan de Fuca, one of the most productive spots is Neah Bay off the green can buoy in front of Wadaah Island, as well as the shoreline heading west toward Tatoosh Island.
Lingcod fishing is open through June 15 from Sekiu to Port Angeles in the Strait, San Juan Islands and all of Puget Sound (closed in Hood Canal). The ocean lingcod fishery is open through mid-October.
Soy Marinated Double-Fried “Karaage” Lingcod
8 ounces lingcod
1/2 ounce soy sauce
1/2 ounce Sake
1/2 ounce Mirin
1 teaspoon grated ginger
8 ounces potato starch
1 thinly sliced lotus root chip
1 lime wedge
Pinch of Kombu salt, or substitute Kosher salt
1. Cut up lingcod into bite-size pieces.
2. Score the lingcod every 0.118 inches with a knife about 80 percent of the way down each piece. This will help the flavor of the marinade soak in, and the texture to get better when you fry the fish.
3. Mix soy sauce, sake and Mirin with grated ginger in a bowl, and marinate lingcod pieces in the sauce about for about two hours.
4. Get rid of excess moisture and coat with potato starch.
5. Fry at 300 degrees until it lightly turns color, then let rest.
6. While the fish rests, turn up the heat to 365 degrees, then fry the fish again until it is golden brown with dark brown spots. (Note: The light char of the soy in the marinade brings up the flavor.)
7. Toss in Kombu salt (or Kosher salt to taste) then add a side of thinly sliced lotus root chip and a lime wedge.