Archive for category Tuna

American Tuna

Posted by on Tuesday, 5 August, 2008

O Albacore! Aged
and most prized, but highest in
deadly mercury.

So PC! From a
certified sustainable
tuna fishery,

And caught by “fishing
families” as well. As they say,
“Families that fish…”

Open the can, and
suddenly surrounded by
cats. A hopeful sign.

Bouquet: ocean brine,
like the bottom of a dock.
Cooked in its own juice.

Solid round of flesh,
not ground bits of cheap-o stuff.
Firm succulent loin!

First slice hard to dig;
tearing a single muscle,
my teeth sink right in.

Nice starting flavor,
like a fine steak on a grill
a long smooth middle

With just a whisper
of smokiness. But alas,
a sub-par finish:

Touch of bitterness
on the tongue. Perhaps the fish
was not so merry.

But au jus delights,
Blithely bathed in own fluids
Salty without salt!

So rich and intense,
there’s my albacore quota
for the remainder.

Pair with soft autumn mornings
or moonlit beaches.

Ahhh, fatherhood…

Posted by on Thursday, 10 May, 2007

…at last. Finally. Someone who will share a can of kippers with me!

Tuna Jackpot!

Posted by on Monday, 2 January, 2006

Boy does my wife know me. She got me an amazing birthday present… a treasure trove of tuna delicacies!

a world of tuna products

Just look at that smorgasbord. The list includes:

  • Flott Tuna: two types of the legendary Flott brand, one in a jar, one in a can. Now I can compare the two directly and see what sort of difference the packaging makes.
  • Ventresca: this is the “underbelly” of the fish, considered a delicacy. Two different brands compete on this front, one labeling itself as containing “tuna breasts” of Bonito del Norte, a type of white tuna.
  • Olives stuffed with tuna: two of my favorite foods collide! “You got your tuna in my olive…”
  • Salt-cured tuna loin: a slab of expensive ventresca-cut tuna, cured much like bacon. It’s best sliced thinly over toast points, drizzled with olive oil. The best description I can come up with is “tuna prosciutto”, and you can see it served on the plate in the picture.
  • Tuna caviar: dried tuna eggs, ready to sprinkle over salads and pasta. Rather amazing.

Oh my. It’s going to be a busy month.

Tuna: Genova

Posted by on Thursday, 13 October, 2005

This week’s tuna is what I refer to as “old reliable” — Genova brand tuna. It may not be the finest out there, but like a good friend, it’s always available and satisfying. It’s still a step above the common mass-produced tuna of Starkist and Chicken of the Sea, though not by much. Genova is really a sub-brand of Chicken of the Sea, packaged fancily to appear that it just arrived off the boat from Italy, rather than a fish-farm:

To the untrained buyer of tuna, the two distinguishing features of this can (beyond the foreign-language marketing) are (1) it’s packed in olive oil, and (2) it’s yellowfin tuna. And no matter how you beat around the bush, it’s hard to put down yellowfin. It just tastes better than the more common bluefin or pale-bland albacore species that fill most of the supermarket shelf. It’s got a richer flavor and all-around meatier texture.

The olive oil is cheap and mixes entirely with the tuna. The result is a cloudy, mucky solution that my cat won’t come near. But does it matter? Not really. One could argue that the total exchange of olive and fish oils is precisely what makes the tuna’s flesh taste so good. It’s not a “pure” tuna taste, but some sort of rich hybrid of animal and vegetable fats.

Let’s me honest here. There’s a time for snobiness, and a time to just get down-and-dirty with the common folk. You can go around ordering eight dollar beers at yuppie bars, but when you’ve been out sweating in the sun all day doing garden-work, nothing tastes better than a cheap Corona. Likewise, when I just need to kick back after a long day of changing 1’s into 0’s and 0’s into 1’s, nothing satisfies my primal fish urge better than a can of Genova. It’s not a tuna for the ages, but it’s still my basic pantry staple. I couldn’t go without it.

This is a working-man’s tuna. I salute it heartily.

Tuna: “As do Mar”

Posted by on Monday, 11 July, 2005

This week’s tuna comes to us from the waters of Portugal, then
distributed by a company in Genova, Italy. The brand is As do
, and it’s titled Tonno Trancio Intero.

As you can see from the packaging, it claims to be “hand worked”
(lavorato a mano), packaged in olive oil.

I was impressed upon first opening the can at the distinct
lack of aroma. The oil drained clearly (almost no fish
sediment) and had almost no smell at all. This was not your typical
low-quality olive oil which tends to overpower the fish and come away
smelling like a rotten seabed. No, this oil was delicate enough for
me to use in cooking dinner, without over-fishing my stir fried

The tuna itself appeared to be white tuna, and was packed extremely
densely. It took a bit of force to break through the dense fibers
with my fork:

Coming near the nose, the fish had a slightly spicy, salty aroma,
but then after a few minutes of airing, it opened up into a more
subtle herbaceous bouquet — perhaps that of distant seaweed. The
olive oil had barely any flavor exchange with the fish, which was a
pleasant surprise to this old can-diver.

On the tongue, a very quiet start, not too strong at all. A heavy,
meaty texture, with a definite (though not overwhelming) tuna flavor,
followed by a clean finish. This stuff would be perfect for hors
d’oeuvres, edible even by those who typically loathe fishy dishes. It
wouldn’t offend a flea. Overall, I give it 3 1/2 fins, an excellent

The back of the box says

“Il Trancio Intero di Tonno As do Mar e da sempre un prodotto
dalle caratteristiche eccezionali grazie alla perfetta pulizia
eseguita da mani esperte, all’ antica lavorazione artigianale e alla
selezione delle parti piu adatte per ottenere un Trancio Intereo dal
gusto unico.”

…which, according to Babelfish, means

“The Entire Trancio of Tonno As I give to Mar and from always a
product from the exceptional characteristics thanks to the perfect one
pulizia executed from expert hands, to the ancient handicraft working
and the selection of the parts piu adapted in order to obtain a
Trancio Intereo from the only taste.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!