Some izakayas are known for giving multiple “otoshi” お通し appetizers to guests at the start of a meal. For example we had six ostoshi at “Suiko” 酔香 and “Shuhai” 酒杯. We really love these types of dishes and often make similar ones at home. But sometimes multiple small bowls and dishes are a bit of work to arrange and clean. When I was browsing the “Korin” website recently, I found a long rectangular dish with five small square indentations and thought it would be a perfect way to circumvent the multiple-small-dish-cleanup issue. So, this is my first attempt at serving 5 small appetizers on this new plate. None of appetizers; only the dishes are new.
Shown below from left to right; #1 miso marinated cream cheese クリームチーズの味噌ずけ, and #2 “Jako” hatchling fish arima-ni ジャコの有馬煮. #1 was almost 10 days old and the flavor really got better over time as the cheese absorbed the salty nuttiness of the miso. I served this on thinly sliced mini-cucumber. #2 is the last of the leftovers from the Sushitaro osechi box (I heated it up in sake and soy sauce to make it last). This time since I was heating up other items in the toaster oven, I decide to include this. The result was a bit surprising and very good. The surface of the little fish got really crispy (nearly burnt) and they became nice crunchy bits.
Shown below #3 is chicken patty with dried fig and gorgonzola cheese いちじくとブルーチーズの松風焼きwhich was topped with figgy cranberry sauceいちじくクランベリーソース. #4 is braised spicy tofu ピリ辛豆腐 with blanched sugar snap.
Below, #5 is blanched broccoli dressed in sesame dressing ブロッコリーの胡麻よごし. It was an attempt to add vegetables for a “nutritionally balanced” appetizer.
Since I cook multiple dishes over the weekend, keeping them in the fridge then heating them up in the toaster over when we are ready to eat I could easily have added a few more items. Maybe, I should aim for the type of “Hassun*” 八寸 appetizers we got at “Kappa” 小料理屋河童 in San Francisco which had 15 small appetizer dishes on one square plate.
* “Su-n” is a traditional Japanese measurement (one “su-n” 一寸 is about 3cm, so eight “su-n” or “Hassun” is about 24cm). The idea here is to serve several small seasonal dishes on a “hassun” or “eight su-n” square cedar tray (or plate) which is usually the second course of a traditional “Kaiseki” 会席 or 懐石 course dinner.