We know that when most of you think of tuna, you think of a sandwich including a simple tuna salad composed of tuna, celery, and mayonnaise. While this is one of the old standbys in the world of sandwiches, sometimes it’s nice to branch and do a little bit of culinary exploration and we hope to aid you in doing just that by introducing you to some of the different varieties of tuna that we carry here at our Old Saybrook, CT seafood market and the many ways in which they can be employed in irresistibly delicious ways.
The first type of tuna we’ll touch upon today is our Yellowfin Tuna. Sometimes known by the Hawaiian name of “Ahi” Yellowfins are among the larger species of tuna, with some of them weighing more than 400 lbs. While this may seem like a hefty amount, they are dwarfed by the Bluefin Tuna which can achieve weights including and over 1000 lbs.1
Though their bodies are mainly blue and silver in color, the Yellowfin gets its name from its large yellow dorsal fin and many smaller yellow fins which are known as finlets. They are found mostly in tropical and sub-tropical oceanic waters and are especially abundant off the coast of Hawaii. For tuna, they are relatively shallow swimmers, preferring to remain less than 300 feet below the surface of the ocean for much of their lives. Not a species to keep to itself, the Yellowfin Tuna is frequently found swimming among schools of Skipjack Tuna and keeping company with pods of dolphins and porpoises. Like most any sea creature, their diet consists mainly of marine life, with a strong focus on crustaceans, squid, and the occasional octopus. They are hardly kings of the ocean though, as they often end up as the prey of larger tuna species as well as whales and sharks.
The meat of a Yellowfin Tuna will usually appear in colors ranging from light pink to deep red. It possesses a firm texture yet mild flavor2 and is a common ingredient in sushi and sashimi. It’s not at all uncommon to find Yellowin Tuna steaks being prepared on the grill or mixed with other ingredients to form tuna burgers. As we discussed earlier, the Yellowfin is among the larger tuna varieties. Just last year, a fisherman applying his trade in Baja, California caught a Yellowfin Tuna that weighed in at a whopping 445 lbs. If the size and species can be confirmed by the IGFA (International Game Fish Association) the lucky angler will win $1 million.1 Talk about reeling in the catch of the day!
Another popular variety of tuna that we sell at Atlantic Seafood is Albacore Tuna. It is among the most widely consumed tuna species in the world and it goes by many names. Albie, Pigfish, German Bonito, and Longfin Tuna are just a few of its many monikers. You’re likely to know it yourself as Star Kist, Chicken of the Sea, or Bumblebee. That’s right – the fish you find in your favorite tuna salad sandwich is none other than the Albacore Tuna.
The Albacore is often referred to as the “white meat tuna”.3 Its light coloring, along with its firm texture and mild taste are highly reminiscent of chicken breast. This is how the name Chicken of the Sea was coined. (Ask any mermaid you happen to see, and she’ll confirm this story.) They are a much smaller breed than the Yellowfin, rarely reaching weights of over 100 lbs. However, it has something in common with the Yellowfin in that it is similarly rich in health-promoting Omega 3 fatty acids.
Albacore Tuna mainly live in tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate salt water areas, preferring a climate between 60 an 66 degrees.4 They tend to dwell in deeper waters and usually spawn between the months of July and October. In regard to their appearance, they have very long pectoral fins and are of a dark greenish-blue color on their backs while sporting a bright silvery-white color on their undersides.4
Albacore have many culinary uses beyond tuna salad. They can be grilled, cut up and served over pasta, served with tomato sauce, sliced and seared, and employed in a number of additional and delicious culinary styles. Today we’ll be sharing with you a recipe found on AllRecipes.com called “Zing-a-Ding-Ding Spaghetti with Albacore Tuna”.
Zing-a-Ding-Ding Spaghetti with Albacore Tuna
Ingredients: 1/3 cup cooking oil of choice, 12 ounces of flaked Albacore Tuna, 1/3 cup of white wine, 3 minced garlic cloves, 16 oz angel hair pasta, 1/2 juiced lemon, 1/3 cup of well-chopped red onions, 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, 14 oz stewed tomatoes, 1 tsp dried oregano, and 1 dash of thyme.5
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil of your choice in a frying pan over medium heat. Place tomatoes, garlic, and onions into the pan and flavor the mixture with oregano and thyme. Cook and periodically stir for 5 minutes or until the onions are tender. Then, mix in the tuna, lemon juice, wine, and remaining oil. Continue to cook for 10 more minutes while occasionally stirring.
2. Boil a large pot full of lightly salted water and add into it the angel hair pasta. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
3. When done heating, drain the water, and move the pasta into a bowl. Add some parmesan cheese if desired and then and this to the mixture in the frying pan and separate into individual servings.5
1. Author Unavailable
2. Hall, Chelsea
The Differences Between Ahi and Yellowfin Tuna
3. Author Unavailable
4. Author Unavailable
Just Sport Fishing.com
5. REBECCA 770111
Zing-a-Ding-Ding Spaghetti with Albacore Tuna