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November 2008

Chef Tadashi Ono of Matsuri – New York, NY on Chef Tadashi Ono

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TECHNIQUE: Yellowtail Collar (Broiled and Braised)
Chef Tadashi Ono of Matsuri – New York, NY

by Heather Sperling

Yellowtail is a fish of many names; rather, many fish bear its name (snapper being one). But in the Japanese context, yellowtail refers to Japanese amberjack, or hamachi – increasingly known as kampachi, thanks to the success of the farm-raised Hawaiian version, Kona Kampachi. 

The collar is a cut from the shoulder area of the fish where the fin is attached, and in Japanese cuisine, it’s always cooked with and served on the bone. It’s a common sight on Japanese tables, but underutilized in Western cuisines. And that’s a shame: imagine the succulent flesh that clings to the cylindrical bone in monkfish osso buco, or along the central bone of a bone-in swordfish steak – the collar is just another source of this tender meat.

At Matsuri, Tadashi Ono gets yellowtail sides from Japan with the collar attached. He cuts the collar from the top of the side – a large fish will yield an arching cut, easily 3-4 inches wide at its ends. Ono broils the large collars; they’re laden with flavorful meat, and just need salt, a drizzle of olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon to serve. Smaller sides yield smaller collars, which Ono cuts into 3-inch pieces and treats like a short rib. These are braised, and the end result is a homey dish with rich-flavored, tender pieces of fish that are creamy in texture, but not fatty. Ono calls the braise a “homey, wintry-style dish.” Of the broiled collar, he says: “it’s pretty simple, but you have to give a lot of attention to detail.”

The techniques can be used with other fish (tuna collar is reasonably easy to source), and are perfect jumping off points for a variety of flavor pairings, Asian or otherwise. Both dishes are best served with chopsticks – naturally the best tools for extracting the last bits of the choice meat.

Broiled Yellowtail Collar
Step 1:
Rub salt into the skin and rinse with water to remove the natural sliminess of the skin.
Step 2: Salt again for seasoning, adding extra salt to the skin side.
Step 3: Broil on meat-side up and then skin-side up to crisp skin.
Step 4: Finish in the oven. Brush with olive oil before serving.

Braised Yellowtail Collar
Step 1:
Cut collar into 2 to 3-inch pieces. Blanch for a second or two and then shock. (Like the salt rub above, this removes sliminess.) Remove scales with fingertips or a small knife.
Step 2: Simmer with braising liquid – 1 hour for a smaller collar, 2 hours for a larger one.
Step 3: Reduce braising sauce and serve with fish. Fish can be served immediately, or cooled and held overnight – the flavor is even richer the next day.

Broiled Yellowtail Collar
Chef Tadashi Ono of Matsuri – New York, NY
Adapted by

Note: Ono serves the broiled collar with grated daikon seasoned with yuzu kosho, a Japanese condiment made of yuzu and green chilies. The tangy, tart, and hot paste is available at Japanese specialty stores, and is a common condiment for fish, both raw and seared.

Yield: 1 Serving


  • Salt
  • 1 yellowtail collar

    To Assemble and Serve:
  • Olive oil
  • Daikon
  • Yuzu kosho (yuzu-green chili paste)
  • Chives
  • Optional: pickled lotus root, pickled ginger stem, grilled shishito pepper

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Salt the fish skin well to remove the sliminess. Rub the salt into the skin, then rinse with water. The slime has a very fishy flavor, so removing it properly softens the flavor of the fish. Salt again for seasoning, especially on the skin side. Broil collar on both sides, making sure to crisp the skin under the broiler. Finish the fish in the oven.

To Assemble and Serve:
Brush with olive oil before serving. Peel and grate daikon using a fine grater and moving the radish in a circular motion. Season daikon with yuzu-green chili paste, and chives. Plate collar with a mound of the seasoned daikon, and finish with other accoutrements if desired.

+ click images to enlarge

Braised Yellowtail Collar
Chef Tadashi Ono of Matsuri – New York, NY
Adapted by

Yield: 1 Serving


  • 1 small yellowtail collar (approximately 6-9 inches long)
  • 1 5-inch piece daikon
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sake
  • ½ cup mirin
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, slivered

    To Assemble and Serve:
  • Braising liquid, reduced (from above)
  • Julienned ginger
  • Julienned scallion
  • Mitsuba

Prepare a pot of boiling water and an ice bath. Cut collar into three pieces; blanch for 1-2 seconds then shock and pat dry. Remove scales with fingertips or a small knife. Prepare daikon: peel and cut into round slices. Trim skin off corners to prevent cracking when braising. Place in cold water and bring to a boil to remove the bitterness. Add daikon, fish, water, sake, mirin, soy sauce, and ginger slices to a pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered, skimming foam off the top. After 5 minutes of skimming, cover with paper.* Simmer for 1 hour (2 hours if using a larger collar). When cooked, daikon is see-through and fish is a golden-brown color.

Note: once braised, the collar can be held overnight, and then reheated in braising liquid for service.

To Assemble and Serve:
Simmer braising liquid until reduced into desired sauce-like consistency. Place fish and daikon slices on a plate, drizzle with reduced sauce, and finish with ginger, scallion, and mitsuba.

*Ono uses a coffee filter – the hole allows the steam to escape while the liquid stays just below boiling. In Japan a cedar wood top is used.

+ click images to enlarge
Photos: Antoinette Bruno  


  • Learn more about seafood – sustainable seafood, that is
  • More fall recipes from chefs across the country

  •   Published: November 2008
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