Tuna fish, prepared French style
Tuna, a saltwater fish, belongs to the mackerel family. While there are several species under the category of tuna, they are divided into three major groups — bluefin group (includes Albacore, Southern Bluefin, Bigeye, Pacific Bluefin and Atlantic bluefin); yellowfin group (includes Blackfin, Longtail and Yellowfin) and others (includes Skipjack, Black Skipjack, Frigate, etc.). Out of these, the species under the first two categories are also referred to as ‘true tuna’.
Whether canned, fresh or frozen tuna forms an essential part of diets across the world. Canned tuna is used in sandwiches and soups. All the tuna from the bluefin group are used for sushi and sashimi, with the Pacific and the Atlantic Bluefin being the most prized. Yellowfin is not only used sushi and sashimi but is also a staple of Hawaiian cuisine. Skipjack is used to make katsuboshi, which is central to Japanese cuisine.
Like many other species of fish, tuna is not only an excellent source of lean protein but also contains high amounts of essential fatty acids such as omega-3. Omega-3 helps in tissue maintenance, reducing cognitive decline, maintaining cardiac health, reducing inflammation and formation of cardiac plaque. Tuna is a good source of essential minerals such as selenium, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, calcium and iron.
Now, for a recipe.
Fresh tuna fillets: 1 pound
Extra Virgin olive oil: 1 cup
Garlic, smashed: 2 cloves
Fresh thyme: 3 sprigs
Lemon peel: 4 numbers
Capers, drained, extra for garnish: 4 tsp
Minced shallot: 0.5 tbsp
Dijon mustard: 2 tbsp
Sherry vinegar: 1 tbsp
Stock: 0.5 tbsp
Neutral flavoured oil: 3.5 tbsp
Salt and ground black pepper
Method: Place tuna in a bowl, cutting it into several pieces if required. Add olive oil, garlic, thyme and lemon peel. Cover, and marinate for six hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Transfer contents of bowl to a saucepan, bring to a simmer, lower heat and cook for five minutes. Shut off heat. The tuna will still be pink in the middle. Let it cool for 30 minutes. Remove tuna, drain well, transfer to a bowl and mash coarsely with a fork. Fold capers, shallots, mustard and sherry vinegar into the tuna. Whisk 2 tablespoons of olive oil with chicken stock and neutral flavoured oil. Fold into tuna. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, place mounds of tuna on each of 6 salad plates, scatter with more capers and serve with toast, as a first course. Otherwise, refrigerate tuna until 30 minutes before serving; then divide on plates and serve.
Executive Sous Chef