Putting aside such fancy notions as sashimi, most of us most readily associate tuna with cans. I don???t know why but it never really dawned on me, until watching a recent episode of Italian Food Safari?? when Pietro Demaio made Tonno sott’olio that you could preserve fish yourself. Demaio is the author of the equal most popular preserving book at Chez Fork, Preserving the Italian Way.This week as TB was cruising Fishco Downunder at Belconnen Markets he spotted an Albacore tuna that looked just right for the job. This baby ??? it only weighed in at 8kgs ??? was enough for us to cope with and I must say was ridiculously low-priced at $7/kg. So for just over $50 we had a tuna that could barely fit inside our fridge.
I???ve also read Demaio???s recipe in the book and would strongly urge you to resist the temptation, as suggested, of buying a 50kg tuna for the recipe (unless you have a large truck, willing assistants, a trolley and walk-in freezer storage).
The process while messy is very straight forward. (The cat, fascinated by such a bounty of fish, remained glued to TB???s leg for the whole operation). Having de-headed the fish and removed its amazingly long pectoral fins (30cms or 12 inches in the old scale),
the body was cut up into 10 cm wide pieces.
These were then brought to the boil in a brine of 120gms of salt per kilo of fish and then simmered for three hours. Do the cooking outside!Having removed the fish from the cooking liquid it is left to cool overnight.
The next morning the skin, bones and blood are removed from the fish.
The pieces are then put into sterilised jars and covered with olive oil or fresh water, with some bay leaves and peppercorns, depending on how you like your tuna. The jars are then placed in a large pot with water coming close to the top of the lids. This is then brought to the boil and the jars are simmered for half an hour. Please check that all the jars have sealed properly, as two of ours didn???t. These will need to be re-boiled. Leave the bottled tuna for a month before using.
As for the remaining head and tail, the meat was cut off for ourselves
and some put aside for the cat (last seen waddling off to crash out next to the heater). The remaining bits were then boiled for stock. We???ve already used some of the stock to make miso soup with tuna and noodles.