In salad, grilled, in pasties or even cooked in recipes as traditionally Spanish as marmitako, tuna is not only the fish that makes Spain the number two country in the world as far as tuna-based product exports, but it’s also the main ingredient in a complete national recipe book full of exquisite suggestions.
Given all this, you’re probably wondering: What’s so special about tuna that people love it so much? Well, to begin with, the immense number of properties. After all, it is a fish that’s rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which help bring down cholesterol and triglyceride levels. And it’s also full of vitamins A, D, B2, B3, B6, B9 and B12 as well as, of course, minerals with high levels of phosphorous and magnesium. So, who can resist?
In any case, this is only the first of many reasons why the tuna caught off the Spanish coast is so highly admired within and outside its borders: yes, it’s very healthy, but it’s also extremely, and we mean extremely, tasty.
And that’s why absolutely everything from tuna is used. In fact, even a whole language has been created around it. You may hear of tuna belly or loin, the upper back akami, the kama block, otoro and even chutoro... Dark and light tail muscle meat, the noten, the middle back senaka and cheeks... In short, there are more than 20 different names for the different cuts of tuna. The quartering action even has an interesting name: ronqueo, which refers to the noise of the knife.
The best part is that every cut of tuna has specific characteristics that influence the flavor and make it the ideal ingredient for a number of recipes. There are so many ways to play with it in the kitchen that it’s quite a challenge for even the most award-winning chefs: the combinations and pairings are endless.
Shall we talk about a few recipes again? No problem at all! There’s quite a variety. After all, tuna is full of flavor whether eaten raw, semi-raw or cooked. The prized tuna belly is the delicacy of all delicacies: veined with generous layers of fat and somewhat more gelatinous, it’s used to prepare the best sushi in the world. And then it’s also served as tartare or tataki for guaranteed success, but there’s more: stewed in different sauces, salt cured —known as mojama—, as tuna balls or grilled. It’s even delicious pickled!