Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anko (Anglerfish)

Anko. Blackmouth anglerfish (Lophiomus setigerus).

Grows from 1 to 1.5 meter. One of the most fearsomely looking and ugly fishes in existence. Called "anglerfish" because the first ray of its spinous dorsal sticks out of the head like a line and bait, a device for attracting prey to the wide mouth. Head extremely big, mouth filled with large and sharp teeth. As the body is very soft, anko is not cut on a cutting board, but hanging down.
Found on sandy mud bottom. Feeds on other fishes, octopus and squid.

[Photo Wikipedia]

From Hokkaido to Japan's southern prefectures.

Best in winter. Despite its appearance, this fish tastes excellent!

Anko is best in winter when it is often eaten as anko nabe (hotpot) after simmering in a sauce of soy and mirin. The liver (an-kimo) is especially sought after (it is one of the chinmi, special delicacies of Japan) and many people think it tastes even better than foie gras. Mito in Ibaraki is known for its anko cuisine.