Gourmet Food Source
Thankfully more readily available than it used to be and increasingly better known for being cooked rare rather than scraped out of a tin, tuna has many merits and deserves a closer look.
Tuna belongs to the same family as mackerel and bonito with varieties including albacore, bluefin, skipjack, tunny and yellowfin. Found across the globe in subtropical and temperate waters they range in size from a modest 3lb/1.5kg through to a massive 1000lb/454kg. Much loved in the Mediterranean, South East Asia, Australia, America and especially Japan where it makes wonderful sashimi.
The best way to buy tuna is cut fresh from the loin; the flesh should be firm with deep colouring and fresh smelling. Although tuna can be expensive to buy the yield obtained from a loin makes it worthwhile, as there is very little waste. Trimmings from the edges can be cooked and stored in olive oil and used for salads or minced for won tons and spring rolls.
Tuna can be braised as favoured by the Spanish and Portuguese but I prefer to slice it quite thinly and cook it very quickly and, importantly, very rare. Donít be put off by the thought of undercooked tuna, the flesh dries out very quickly if overcooked and is simply a waste of a wonderful fish. Make sure the pan is red hot with only a little oil; roll the edges in crushed pepper and salt and/or freshly chopped herbs. Depending on the thickness of the steak cook for no more than a minute on either side (take the fish out of the refrigerator fifteen minutes before cooking to remove the chill from the centre) and serve immediately. Try different flavours, capers, lemon, basil and olive oil are obvious choices but sesame oil, spring onions, ginger and soy sauce are equally as good.
Content and picture © Miles Collins