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myMEGusta

Named for things that please me (“me gusta” in Spanish) and rhymes with balabusta (Yiddish for “good homemaker”).

Tuna Time

When I was a girl, all tuna came from cans, and most of it ended up in swathed (too much) mayonnaise.  Sorry, Charlie.

Trimming for Sashimi

We now live in the age of sashimi (some wasabi and soy?), crudo (extra virgin olive oil and sea salt?), and seared tuna steaks, with sushi quality yellowfin available in all fish markets and most grocery stores.

Toro at Sushi Oto in San Diego

Wildly popular around the world, tuna thrive in all the major oceans, and are prized by fishermen for the top dollar they deliver.  We don’t think of tuna as flying fish, but a large proportion of them end up in Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market, frozen and ready for auction before they get on the next flight to another destination.

Tuna Ready To Cut

Tonnara

One of the oldest tuna fishing techniques, “tonnara”, is still practiced in the Mediterranean Sea and myMEGusta had the huge treat of seeing a 400 pound Bluefin who had been caught in this manner broken down by a professional tuna cutter (and the filets then made into yummy sashimi by top sushi chefs). *

Fatty Tuna

Tonnara is a means of netting the animals as they migrate after spawning; like salmon, the tuna are emaciated at that point, so they are kept alive in giant tuna ranches, and fed generously so that they plump back up.  Note the pink color where this fish was first cut for evaluation; the fattier the fish, the higher a price it commands, and the more “toro”, super fatty tuna, makes its way to sushi and sashimi lovers.

In addition to ranching, which is also done to fatten up tuna taken live by other means, there are also Bluefun tuna farms, similar to salmon farms, where the tuna are bred and raised to adulthood.  This technology, known as closed-cycle, is in its infancy, but could promise a solution to preserving the species.

Bonito in a Lima Peru Market

The major types of tuna are the prized, very fatty (by nature) Bluefin (Atlantic and Pacific species), Yellowfin (the most common type we find in American restaurants and markets), Albacore (most of which is canned), and the close relative, the skipjack (warm water, relatively small in size, also known as bonito).

Once myMEGusta got past the canned tuna/mayo phase, she never met a tuna she didn’t like.

For a related article about Poke, a popular Hawaiian tuna preparation, and other raw fish tales, go to https://mymegusta.com/2012/04/24/no-pig-in-this-poke/  .

And, there’s more about tuna in various guises, Salade Nicoise in particular at: https://mymegusta.com/2016/09/08/whats-so-nice-about-salade-nicoise/

*The Bluefin Cutting Show was part of an expo sponsored by True World Foods, a global seafood distributor, and it is an annual event.  http://www.trueworldfoods.com/tsukiji-express.php

Boning the Tuna

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One thought on “Tuna Time

  1. Wonderful story. When I worked at the hotel Beau Rivage in Geneva we used canned tuna in oil. It came in a fairly large red can, was chunky, delicious and expensive. It was carefully dished out and probably canned in Spain or Italy. It was the best canned tuna I ever tasted. Fresh tuna was at that time unknown on restaurant menus.

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