Tuna is one of the world’s fastest fish and the largest in the mackerel family. Tuna can weight over 900 kg. It is recognized by its powerful, spindle-shaped body and the small, sharp, fins high on the body.
There are several species of large and small tuna. Tuna at your fishmongers are often yellowfin tuna.
Tuna are endangered due to intensive over-fishing. Fishing for tuna also involves bycatch of dolphins, shark, turtles and other species that are at risk.
The best tuna ends up in Japan, the second best in the US, and the third highest rated is shipped to Europe. Common kinds of tuna are bluefin, yellowfin, skipjack and tongol tuna (a smaller species).
Bluefin tuna is considered to be the best of all but is close to extinction. Skipjack and tongol are often tinned.
How to cook tuna
The internal temperature of cooked tuna should never exceed 40°C and ideally it should be slightly over 30°C. Eating tuna “well done” is a waste of this wonderful ingredient.
Brush the tuna with a thin layer of oil, just before the fish is placed on the griddle, both for the flavor and to stop it sticking.
It needs a high temperature, otherwise the flesh will go mushy.
Excessively red tuna – which often turns up in sushi – may have been chemically treated to improve the color.
Some chefs think that, like red meat, tuna should rest after grilling. Others disagree. However, the fish shouldn’t go straight to the plate. It’s best to rest it briefly on kitchen towel or a clean tea towel to absorb any juices so they don’t run off on the plate.
A dry “rub” with West Indian spices (e.g. allspice...) goes well with the "meatiness" of this fish.
Rolled in sesame seeds and fried to an internal temperature of 31°C (with a pink center).
Or fresh tuna sliced for sashimi and sushi.
MSC-labelled tuna and skipjack have green status. Other tuna is on the red list and is not recommended.