We all partake of tuna – it’s the lunch of champions because let’s face it, you can add pretty much the kitchen sink. Yeah, we know the customary participants – mayo, celery, boiled eggs, pickles. Boring!
TUNA. We all know is one the most remarkable proteins around. We’re not just referring to the beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids (canned sardines and salmon comprise even more), but it contains amino acids and it’s bio-available (which means it’s absorbed into your system quickly). In the US, the “Chicken of the Sea” is packed in water and the go-to-choice by most customers at every supermarket. Let’s face it, it’s rather flavorless, grayish looking, fishy and kind of gross.
I’m a consummate tuna lover – I could eat it every day and I don’t mean the grey yukky stuff.
Spain, a country teeming with age-old marine traditions, is the top producer of tinned tuna (atún) in Europe and boasting of the largest fishing industry in the EU. It’s no wonder that the tuna deriving from Spain is the most flavorful, one of the best in the world and the reason why it’s used in numerous dishes throughout the Iberian Peninsula. It’s so incredibly good you can scarf it with a fork right out of the can. Once you have tried it – you’ll be a convert and ruined for life. No foolin’.
Oh yes, there’s definitely a lot that should be considered when buying tuna.
PACKED IN OLIVE OIL ALL THE WAY!!!
Why? Because the water retains all the goodness of the tuna and that is what you’re draining. When packed in olive oil, it retains its flavor and fattiness, which is what excellent tuna or bonito has. Oh, and we are not just talking cans, some of the best tuna is available in jars – were you can see the lovely large, white chunks of tuna packed in clear olive oil (don’t get the ones that say soybean oil, or any other). Drain the olive oil it comes in and add additional EVOO when preparing.
“POLE-AND-LINE-CAUGHT” + FAD FREE
“Pole-and-line-caught” is prevents over fishing and FAD’s are the nets and floating devices using in the fishing industry that unnecessarily catch other ocean species together with the tuna and bonito.
BEST OF THE BEST
If you’re standing at the canned fish isle you don’t have to read through every can looking for “Pole-and-line-caught” and “FDA Free”. Don’t scratch the proverbial bean wondering which brand is best. Bela, Tonnino and Ortiz come in jars and are the stellar brands, a bit pricier but like with everything else in life, you pay for what you get. Once you have tried any of these brands, you will know what I’m referring to, because the tuna is the most flavorful you will ever consume and the way that canned/jarred tuna should taste.
FEATURED RECIPE – TUNA SALAD WITH AVOCADO
1 Jar of 7 oz tuna filets packed in olive oil – drained
1 mago – seed removed and chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1 small tomato – chopped finely
1 small shallot – chopped finely
1/2 red bell pepper – chopped finely
Juice and zest of half lemon
2 TBSP EVOO
1 TBSP capers – drained and finely chopped
1/2 TSP kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
1/4 TSP of sugar
1-2 avocadoes – halved and pits removed
Whisk the lemon zest, juice, salt, sugar, pepper and EVOO together in a small bowl. In another bowl, add the tuna and flake it with a fork. Incorporate the chopped tomato, bell pepper, mango, cilantro and add the dressing. Mix well and allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before filling the avocado halves.