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Shirako (Cod Milt) Season


© Alessandra Bulow
Shirako (Cod Milt) Sashimi

The morning after a recent menu tasting at Brooklyn, New York’s Zenkichi restaurant, I woke up with a belly full of shirako cod milt (a.k.a. cod sperm) and no regrets. Available only in winter months, shirako is considered a delicacy in Japan and can be eaten raw or cooked.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t initially freaked out when a small bowl of glistening shirako sashimi (pictured, left) was placed in front of me, but I resolved not to be so squeamish when I saw two brawny guys, both former college football players, dig in without hesitation. Topped with thinly sliced scallions and a drizzle of ponzu sauce, the sashimi was slightly sweet and vaguely briny with a smooth custard-like texture that resembled brains.

Then the waiters brought out delicious, lacy clusters of a tempura combining creamy cod milt and crispy green chrysanthemum leaves, topped with a sprinkle of green-tea salt (pictured, below).

Now I’m thinking about going back to Zenkichi for more shirako before the season ends–and I might even bring a friend with me.

© Alessandra Bulow
Shirako (Cod Milt) Tempura


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