The albacore tuna fishery off BC’s coast is a sustainable catch of young tuna. When I’ve purchased them whole they’ve weighed about 10 to 12 pounds. There’s not a lot of waste, but I find it a lot easier to purchase tuna loins, which are boneless and skinless. In the grocery store or fish shop, these loins, plain or smoked, should always be frozen. Don’t defrost them until just before you’re ready to use them.
For more information about this fishery, including recipes and even some instructional videos, visit the Canadian Albacore Tuna website. You can also check out Victoria-based Finest At Sea for that company’s line of albacore tuna products. For the recipes I served on the show today, keep on scrolling!
Don’s Tuna Tataki
This is my take on a traditional Japanese dish. Japanese traditionalists would probably be in an uproar if I served them this tuna, as they think it’s sacrilege to put a spicy coating on sashimi grade tuna…but I’m like Emeril, I like to kick it up a notch!
For the tuna
1 skinless, boneless albacore tuna loin, frozen
1 tbsp. spice rub of your choice
For the sauce
1 3-inch piece of daikon radish, peeled (these are the huge, long white radishes)
1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. hot chili paste
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. soya sauce
Trim the tuna loin so that it is of uniform length and width. You basically want it to look like a squared-off tube. Save the trimmings to make poke. (see recipe below) Heat a heavy-bottomed frypan on high heat and add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom. Coat the tuna loin in the spice rub, and when the oil is smoking, put the tuna in the pan and sear on all sides. You don’t want it to cook all the way through, just a thin outside layer. Remove from the pan and let cool.
Grate the daikon radish on a medium to fine grater. Grate the ginger on a fine grater. Mix together the radish, ginger and the remaining sauce ingredients.
Slice the tuna into quarter-inch slices and place on a plate so they attractively overlap. Pile the sauce on the side and serve.
Serves 4 as an appetizer
This kind of fish dish is quite common in Hawaii, where they use a variety of fish and a variety of spicings, so feel free to experiment. You can also add small bits of seaweed to the mix. Adjust quantities of the spicing according to how much fish you have. On today’s show I probably used a quarter pound of albacore trim. Cut it into bite-sized chunks and put in a bowl. Add a splash of sesame oil, a splash of soya sauce, a splash of fish sauce if desired, 1 finely chopped green onion, some cilantro if desired, a dollop of hot chili paste. Mix all ingredients together and sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds. Serve with rice crackers or others of your choice.