Tuna: how to cook it

Tuna: how to cook it

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When we talk about "tuna" we refer to many varieties and sizes. Speak aboutred tunait is difficult: alltunathey have red and compact meats and are able to giverecipesof great effect.

Red tuna

The varieties oftunathe most common are: alletterato, tombarello, bonito and lanzardo. These fish are allred tuna, because they are smaller than the common onetuna fishand, just like the classic tuna, they share the same color of the meat.

Thebluefin tunais yet another fish: known asblue fin tuna, represents the Thunnus thynnus species. What is the difference between thebluefin tunaand ired tuna? The tonnage! The Mediterranean bluefin tuna can exceed 3 meters in length and a specimen of about 725 kg has been caught! Well… other than thattuna!

Tombarello or biso

It is among thetunamost common: it measures about 50 cm with a weight of 2-3 kg. It is recognized by the conical shape of the head and by observing the mouth. The lower jaw protruding slightly from the upper one.

It features a blue back and clear flanks. As with all fish, for cleaning it will be necessary to cut into the belly (with a pair of scissors making a longitudinal cut) and eviscerate it. Before cook the tombarello the dorsal and ventral fins must be removed.


Betweentunastands out for its long size. Improperly calledskipjack tuna, this fish can reach up to 90 cm with a weight of about 10 kg. We advise you to buy bonito caught in our Tyrrhenian Sea. It is recognized for its silver flanks, for the presence of streaks in the upper part of the body and very small eyes.

Given its size, it is possible to obtain excellent slices to be cooked stewed or baked. To prevent the slice from falling apart, each individual slice must be fixed with a round of kitchen twine. Thistunait also lends itself well togrilled recipes.

Skipjack tuna

Note: the trueskipjack tunahas streaks all over the body and not only on the dorsal area. It can reach a length of 100 cm even if the specimens found on the market are generally smaller.


Widely used for the preparation of tuna in oil. On average, in fish markets you will find small-bodied lanzardi, about 20 cm long, although in fact this fish grows much more.

It has a slender body and a pointed snout. On the back it has a “petroleum” color: a blue tending to green. This fish can be filleted using flexible blades as I explained to you in the guide article abovehow to fillet fish.

Tuna alletterato

Its scientific name is Euthynnus alletteratus, it is commonly known astuna alletteratoand is widely fished in the Mediterranean. Thetuna alletteratois very similar to thetombarello, it is distinguished only by the contiguous dorsal fins, by the smaller eye and the stockier body. Thetuna alletterato, as well as thetombarello, are fish that to an unknowing eye can be confused with young specimens ofbluefin tuna.

Tuna: how to cook it

Therecipesto cook the tuna are the same seen for the young bluefin tuna (therefore of a small blue fin tuna). For the sake of completeness, I suggest two excellent recipes: baked tuna and stewed tuna.

Recipe: tuna in foil

  1. Peel 2 potatoes and cut them into 3-4 mm thin slices.
  2. Sear the potatoes for 3-4 minutes in boiling salted water.
  3. Take the tuna fillets and place them on a piece of parchment paper.
  4. Add the seared potatoes, black olives, pine nuts and sliced ​​tomato.
  5. Sprinkle with oil and a teaspoon of white wine per fillet.
  6. Add chopped garlic and some herbs (parsley or rosemary)
  7. Close the bag.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 ° C for 20 minutes.

Recipe: baked tuna

If you want to cook whole tuna in the oven, you will need to cook longer. If the fillets are easy to cook in the oven, the whole tuna needs more attention.

  1. If you have a tuna of around 900 - 1.2 kg, make deep transverse incisions on both sides.
  2. On each incision, alternately add a lemon wedge and an orange wedge.
  3. Season with a drizzle of oil. Let it rest for 2 hours, so as to flavor the meat.
  4. Transfer thetunaon a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
  5. Add potatoes, courgettes, pieces of pepper and some olives. Also season the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil.
  6. Add half a glass of white wine and salt.
  7. Cook thetuna in the ovenfor 30 minutes at 160 ° C (preheated oven).
  8. To prevent it from drying out and get a longer resulthumid, cover with aluminum foil and, only when the first 30 minutes have elapsed, continue cooking for another 10 minutes without aluminum foil.
  9. Before serving, wet thetunawith the liquids that you will find in the baking tray.

If you are looking for others tuna recipes, you can take a look at the article on How to cook tuna. You will find recipes based on the cut you have available (slice, fillets, whole fish…).

Video: How a Master Sushi Chef Butchers a 250 Pound Bluefin Tuna Omakase (July 2022).


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