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"Fresh" tuna?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

The chances that someone will fish a tuna in the Northsea over here is zero at the moment.

So, tuna comes from other parts of the world. My problem is that I like it a lot!

 

I was so happy to find prepacked "fresh" tuna in my supermarket this friday. Looked a bit grey-ish, but hey, nice thick steaks, let's try. Price; ...36 euro/kilo. That is much more than the most costly fillet of beef that I can buy over here, but it's cheaper than the tuna that my regular posh fishmonger offers. He gets deliveries 2x per week from the Rungis hypergigantic wholesale market near Paris, merely 300 kilometer from where I live. Only thing, he sells his tuna at... 45 euro/kilo!!! But, it can be eaten raw, is beautiful dark red colored and he slices it to your wishes. Sears beautifully with the middle part still nicely red.

Then there's frozen tuna steaks in discount supermarkets for a fraction of the price, grey-ish also.

 

I seared the tuna on hot fire for not even a minute on both sides, but never got a coloration and the interior of the fish turned out white with a very pale pink.

My questions; Am I wrong to suspect that this tuna may have been thawed and nicely packed and sold for "fresh"? Or are there more types of tuna that I don't know off?

 

Here it is, tasted good, but see how it lookes; seared tuna (I dipped it first in sesameseeds)/ salsa of red onion, tomato, cucumber, chili, scallion green, olive oil and vineagar/ sauce; beurre rouge (shallot, red wine, butter, vinegar) 

The darker parts on the inside of the slices is from the sauce.

 

tonijnBeurreRouge.jpg

post #2 of 8

Chris,

 

Different colors can mean different species -- for instance, skipjack (which is light like albacore) as opposed to bluefin or big eye.  That's the most likely explanation for the variations you're describing.  Tuna usually gets darker and drier as it ages, not light.  The color of your tuna says skipjack to me, or possibly albacore. 

 

Lovely visuals by the way.  As always your pictures and plating are beautiful.  

 

By appearance only, the fish looks a little like escolar.  But since I know you know enough to know the difference between escolar and anything else, I doubt that it is.  There are probably laws against representing the one as the other.

 

Glossy, glistening red, doesn't always mean freshness.  Color can be enhanced by gassing, just as with beef.  I'm not sure what the laws are regarding that sort of manipulation in Belgium in particular or the EU in general.  You guys are pretty strict about that stuff.  Lucky.

 

If you're not looking at the whole fish, aroma is the best indicator of freshness.  Surface gloss can tell you that it's been held appropriately since fabrication.  A degree of translucency is an optimistic sign of both -- but not quite as revealing.  And after that, you're on your own. 

 

I like to see the eyes and gills, but with big fish like tuna that's usually not possible at a regular, retail fish monger.

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/7/11 at 12:38pm
post #3 of 8

It can also be young tuna which is lighter in color.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys. I obviously know as good as nothing about tuna! The names skipjack, albacore and escolar you mentioned, BDL, all sound very chinese to me.

Looks like I need to learn some more. Thanks both of you!  

post #5 of 8

CHRIS !  BDL I believe is on the money. What you show is a form of Albacore. Over the years they have tried to tell the public that Albacore is the best tuna and Sock Eye the best salmon  Neither are . The fact is they harvest and catch more of these 2 kinds and want to push them out.

Fresh Tuna is indeed a great fish reddish in color and glistening or I would call it a transparent red.  As it is exposed to air or is older fish it gets darker. The finest Tuna I ever had was caught off the coast of Hawaii. The best Salmon as I have trveled to Alaska  is the King Salmon or so it is called. It is bright , bright orange and very big. Thats what the natives eat up there.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #6 of 8

In Hawaii, Ahi Tombo is pink in color and looks like what you have pictured.  It is Albacore tuna.  It is less expensive than Ahi which is either Big Eye or Yellow Fin tuna, both of which are red in color.  Still good tuna, but not as "rich" as Yellow Fin, Big Eye or Blue Fin, all of which would be preferred for sashimi and sushi.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

I know yellow fin and bleu fin just by name only. Whole tuna is never on display over here, so I wouldn't recognize any, including albacore.

Maybe this is all a good excuse to finally visit Hawaii!!

 

The last bigboy fresh tuna I saw was in Funchal Madeira last year. Same thing; I wouldn't know what kind of that tuna is, but that color says to me it's the right kind that I like so much.

But again, I'm an idiot when it comes to tuna.

 

IMG_1418.JPG

post #8 of 8

In Hawaii, it isn't unusual to see people selling smaller 5-8 pound Skipjack tuna (aku) out of their cars by the roadside.  Great stuff.  You should try Marlin as well if it is available to you.

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