The names of many Japanese dishes employ word play; this is especially true of traditional holiday foods such as TAZUKURI. Written with calligraphy meaning “tilled fields” the fish brittle is a New Year delicacy that symbolizes fertility and abundance. Hoping for a sweet and prosperous New Year, tazukuri are nibbled on New Year’s Day (best served with a well-chilled, dry saké).
The first time I tried these tiny, dried sardines, I admit I was a bit apprehensive: candied fish brittle??? Toasted and glazed the fish are both sticky-sweet and savory, with a hint of bitterness (the fish are consumed whole with head, tail and skeleton intact) a culinary combo not found in any American foods I know. Now I look forward to making, and munching on, these calcium-rich candied fish every year. Ready to give them a go? Download a recipe for Candied Fish.