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Tuna Recipes



Tuna Casserole Cajun Tuna Salad Hibachi Tuna Teriyaki Grilled Tuna
Tuna Kabobs with Fresh Lime Sauce   Grilled Tuna Steaks with Strawberry Salsa Herbed Tuna with Citrus Vinaigrette Recipe Cheesy Broccoli Tuna Bake
Ahi, Baby Shrimp and Hamachi Ceviche Recipe   Lemongrass Seared Ahi Tuna with Asian Salsa Recipe   Peppered Ahi Tuna with Oyster Mushrooms and Port Wine Recipe Spiced Tuna with Pineapple Glaze Recipe


Tuna Buying and Cooking Tips

Types of Tuna:

There are a number of varieties of tuna, with light to dark flesh. Tuna varieties include albacore, tunny, ahi, bonito, skipjack, bigeye, bluefin and yellowfin.

Bluefin tuna: This is generally the variety of choice for fresh tuna connoisseurs. It has a bit more fat, and thus more flavor, than the other varieties. At maturity, the flesh is dark red, with an appearance very similar to raw beef. This variety is the largest, growing up to 1,600 pounds. Most of the bluefin harvest is exported to Japan and sold at a premium price for sushimi.

Yellowfin tuna: Also known as ahi. Less expensive than bluefin, this variety is nearly as good as bluefin and also more common and easy to find in the markets. It is pale-pink, with flavor a bit stronger than albacore. It is also often canned.

Skipjack tuna: Also known as bonito and aku. This variety is usually canned. It generally has the strongest flavor and highest fat content. It is also the smallest variety, seldom growing larger than 25 pounds. Dried bonito is known as katsuobushi and is used in Japanese cuisine.

Albacore tuna: This is the variety with the lightest flesh and mildest flavor. It's usually canned as white tuna and sold at a higher price than light chunk tuna.

Tuna Meat:

The flesh of the tuna can range from very light pink (nearly white) to deep reddish brown, depending on the variety. Prime raw tuna steaks look very much like raw beef, right down to the deep red color of the flesh. The tuna steak may have a darker brown area, which is edible but has a much stronger flavor. Sometimes this is already trimmed away by the fishmonger. Fresh tuna is usually sold already skinned since the skin is extremely tough.

When selecting fresh tuna, avoid any with dry or brown spots (other than the natural darker brown area). There should be no rainbow sheen on the fish and should smell ocean-fresh. The fishmonger generally keeps the tuna in a large filet which looks very much like a beef loin and will slice off what you need. Fresh tuna season runs from late spring to early fall, but frozen steaks are available year-round.

If you have the option, skip the thawed frozen filets and buy the tuna filet frozen. This way, you know it will be the freshest possible since you control when to thaw it. Just be sure to store it in the coldest part of your freezer until you're ready to thaw.

Get that fish home from the market and into your refrigerator as soon as possible. Keep the tuna refrigerated until you're ready to use it. It's best to use fresh tuna the day of purchase. If you need to store it, pat it dry, wrap securely in plastic wrap or foil and store in the coldest part of your refrigerator (optimum temperature of 31 degrees F.). If your refrigerator is not that cold, place the wrapped fish on a bed of ice or in a baggie filled with ice. Use within 24 hours.

If you know the tuna is fresh and not previously frozen, feel free to wrap and freeze it. However, if you're buying fresh tuna in a grocery store, you can almost bet it's been previously frozen, in which case it is best to use it immediately. Prepare a solution of 1 tablespoon ascorbic acid crystals to 1 quart of water OR 1/4 cup salt dissolved in 1 quart of water. Dip the fish into the solution to firm it up. Seal in plastic wrap and then in a zip-top bag. Better yet, freeze it in an ice block by putting into a zip-top bag and covering with water. Freeze up to three months. Thaw it slowly in the refrigerator. If it is in a sealed zip-top bag, it can be thawed more quickly by placing the sealed package in a sink or pot of cold water. Microwave thawing is not recommended.

Storing Cooked Tuna:

Cooked fish will keep three to four days in the refrigerator. Leftover cooked tuna is excellent as a salad topper. Reheating is not recommended, unless you chop and add gently at the end of a cream sauce until just warmed through. Serve over rice or pasta.

Whole chunks of smoked tuna will last up to ten days in the refrigerator. Be sure it is always kept tightly wrapped. Smoked tuna chunks can be wrapped and frozen up to two months, but know that there may be some loss of texture when thawed.

You'll have many varieties and grades of canned tuna to choose from. Your selection will depend on your tastes and the specific recipe used. Solid or fancy pack will contain large pieces of tuna and is usually albacore. Only albacore tuna may be labeled and sold as white tuna. Many will pay the higher price for white tuna because it has a milder flavor and lighter color. In fact, it looks very much like canned chunk chicken and can be substituted for canned chicken in many recipes.

Chunk tuna has smaller pieces. Flaked tuna is fairly broken apart and best used for salads where the tuna is mashed and mixed anyway. The latest commercial innovation is tuna packed in vacuum pouches with no added oil or water.

Unopened canned tuna can be stored in a cool cupboard up to one year. Place leftover canned tuna in a sealed container in the refrigerator and use with four days. Tuna salad with a dressing can be refrigerated up to three days. Cooked tuna dishes such as casseroles can be frozen up to two months.

Tuna Nutrition Information:

Fresh tuna has only one percent fat per body weight, making it a favored choice for those on low-fat diets. However, the depth of the water and water temperature will affect the fat content of the fish which can vary not only from catch to catch but also between different varieties of tuna. For example, two cans of water-packed white tuna of equal size, even from the same company, can vary from one to five grams of fat per two-ounce serving. Due to this interesting scientific fat variation, it is actually possible for tuna packed in water to have more fat than tuna packed in oil. Amazing, but true, and yet another reason to always check the label on every canned tuna purchase if you must control your fat intake.

If you're looking to boost your Omega-3 fatty acids (famous for fighting heart disease), choose canned albacore, which often contains not only more than the chunk light canned, but also more than even fresh tuna.

For those allergic to soy, know that most tuna packed in oil has added soybean oil. There is canned tuna packed in olive oil available in most markets, although it is usually more expensive. However, most canned tuna fans prefer the olive oil-packed tuna above all others for flavor. Luckily, olive oil is heart healthy. The oil actually leeches out some of the cholesterol. Drain and gently rinse off the oil if you must.