Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Barbecued Bluefin Tuna: Filet and Belly Meat

My partner, Michael Lewin, went fishing off of San Diego this past weekend and caught five bluefin tuna, the limit. He brought some fresh bluefin into work on Tuesday (the day after Labor Day) and I got a beautiful filet and two large pieces of belly meat, the part of the tuna known as fatty tuna. 
The filet is the piece that is darkest, at the far back, and the belly meat has silvery blue skin on the outside and pinkish flesh on the inside. I decided to take it home for lunch, while it was still fresh, fire up the barbecue, and see how it tasted. 
I did not have any wasabi, but I did have some ginger wasabi teriyaki marinade which I put on it. 
I resisted the urge to eat it as sashimi as I do not believe it was flash frozen and I wanted to avoid getting any worms or parasites that are otherwise killed by that process. I put it on the barbecue for several minutes 
and tried it, 
then put it on for several more minutes 
and tried it again. It was seared just a bit on the outside and still quite raw on the inside. 
Michael indicated that the tuna were each about 18 or 20 pounds and that the bellies were just a small portion of the bottom of the fish. The freshness and texture were amazing. It is nice to have really fresh fish. I enjoyed both the filet and the belly meat without a strong preference for one over the other. I wish I'd had some wasabi sauce. There is nothing quite like the saltiness of soy sauce and the heat of wasabi to complement the texture and taste of mostly raw tuna. A while back I bought some fatty tuna from a store and was quite disappointed. At that time I'd hoped to have some belly meat from tuna caught by Michael. This was fulfillment of that wish. I don't have a lot of experience cooking fish and a good chef with the right ingredients could have made something pretty spectacular with this fish. As it was, what I made was quite good. 

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