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Until recently, this fish was called just that and fed to farm animals. But then scientists-ichthyologists found out that tuna is a warm-blooded sea creature, this fish has a heart and circulatory system. Therefore, if you want to taste a real tuna, unlike any other fish, it must be cut as soon as you catch it. This pleasure is only available to those who are on a yacht and fishing in the open sea.
When the tuna is caught, it is necessary to cut off the head while the fish is alive, and then hang it by the tail to let the blood drain. The flesh becomes pale pink, tender, and tasty; it can be lightly salted and eaten raw. If the blood is not allowed to drain, it will hopelessly spoil the flavor of the fish. The flesh of such tuna has a dark red color.
But in industrial fishing, when the net drags several tons of tuna on deck, it is impossible to drain the blood from hundreds of them. The omnivorous Japanese have found a way to mute the flavor of tuna tainted by congealed blood. This is done with a mixture of soy sauce and wasabi, a spicy horseradish. Further, Japanese scientists have made a furor in cooking by discovering that tuna flesh contains all the essential vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and omega-3 fatty acids that are needed for the proper functioning of the human brain and the prevention of malignant tumors. And mackerel for horses has become number one on fish menus in many countries. All tuna dishes are considered a delicacy.

Tuna is good for the heart, blood vessels, joints, nervous system, and eyesight, and the vitamins and minerals it contains boost the immune system and protect against many diseases. The fish is unique in that it does not pick up trash from the bottom, and feeds on pure plankton and small fish, so has no parasites and is considered safe, unlike bottom-dwelling fish such as snapper or barracuda.
To survive, the tuna must be in constant motion, oxygenating its blood by pumping masses of water through its gills. It is as fast as a torpedo and can reach speeds of 50 miles per hour. The tuna crosses the Atlantic, and travels to the Mediterranean and back to the shores of America, making the round trip in less than two weeks!

How to choose and store fish.
The optimum weight of tuna should be no more than 2 kg, with no external damage. It is a young fish, its flesh has useful properties and flavor. The flesh is very juicy, it dries quickly and can be kept in the refrigerator for no more than 4 days, it is better to use it immediately. The belly is the tastiest and most fatty part of the fish.
How can you keep fish for a long time (several months)? The gills and guts must be removed without cutting the belly. Thoroughly clean the fish of blood and put it in a plastic bag, fill it with water, with ice chips preferably. No salt and air bubbles. The frozen fresh water will cover the fish with a protective crust and preserve its juices. Store in the freezer until ready to cook.

Cut the frozen fillets into thin slices with a sharp knife and serve immediately. Frozen tuna fillets have a special flavor, the flesh is delicious while still firm! However, fillets do not last long in the freezer and if not stored as above, the flesh after a week will become oxygenated, darken, and lose flavor. You can add a few drops of strong mustard or mayonnaise to the mixture of Japanese spicy horseradish, wasabi, and soy sauce. These additions add spice and tone down the strength of the horseradish. The Japanese serve sashimi with rice vodka ‘sake’. They drink it warm. But man has never invented anything better than icy cold wheat vodka.

How to marinate tuna fillets.
After the head is off and the blood drained off, tuna is gutted: remove the fins, and cut in half along the backbone. Place the halves on a chopping board, flesh side up, and use a filleting knife to separate the skin. The knife will find the right angle near the tail where the skin is thicker. Then press the blade of the knife against the board and lead the blade away from the tail to separate the fillet from the skin, This is the exact method to remove the fillet of mackerel as well. It takes a little practice, you can do it in seconds.
Next, marinate the fillets in a mixture of your choice. It could be soy sauce plus olive oil, or honey plus lemon/orange juice. Be sure to add garlic and spices of your choice: cloves, turmeric, nutmeg, black pepper, rosemary, or thyme. The proportions are arbitrary.
To flavor fish, you can use a marinade without soy sauce, in combination with dry wine, garlic, dried herbs, and fresh ginger. However, salt must be added to such a marinade. If the marinade contains soy sauce, no salt is needed. Leave in refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours. The longer the tuna is marinated, the softer and juicier it will be. However, do not leave it in the marinade overnight – the fillets will lose their juices and therefore their flavor.

How to cook tuna.
If you decide to cook the tuna without marinating, rub the fillets with salt and pepper. Do not remove the skin from the fillets, the flesh will retain its juices. Fry in hot vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes on each side until a nice golden crust forms, the oil should cover half the fish. The best way to preserve the juices in the meat is to dip the fillets in a thin batter of whisked egg, flour, and cold mineral water before frying, then sprinkle with the spices and fry over medium heat.

Tuna baked in the oven.
Tuna baked in the oven or on the grill is delicious, but this method has its peculiarities. Gut the fish without cutting the belly, cut off the tail, and make a few incisions from head to tail. Grease the carcass with vegetable oil and season with salt and spices. Wrap in foil and place in the oven at 200°C for 15 minutes. It is important not to over-dry the fish in the heat of the oven. To keep it juicy, you can lightly coat the carcass with flour on both sides and fry it in a pan with vegetable oil, onion, and lemon juice. Then wrap in foil, without letting the oil drip off, and place on the grill or in the oven.
Leave the tuna in the foil to cool before serving, so that the flesh becomes softer and more tender. Fish goes well with spaghetti and rice, vegetables, mushrooms, and cheese with garlic, cream, or Portuguese sauce.

Salads and sandwiches.
Tuna fillets can be used in salads and sandwiches with herbs and spices to taste. Boil the tuna in water for 10 minutes, add salt, bay leaf, black pepper, and onion rings, then leave to cool and chill in the fridge. Carefully remove the skin as described above.
Portuguese MOJO sauce.
Many people have probably read my short story “The Gypsy Girl of Lisbon”. In it, a girl in a bar offers a fish sauce to Russian sailors. This unique Portuguese sauce for fish and meat is MOJO sauce.
There are two types of this sauce. Mojo Rojo is a spicy sauce with the addition of hot peppers. Mojo Verde is a milder sauce. It replaces the peppers with spices. Fish fillets should be juicy and fatty, mackerel, tuna, and sturgeon are best.


  • Fish fillet – 1kg
  • Olive oil (50 gr)
  • Garlic – 2 cloves.
  • Hot red pepper – 2
  • Sweet (or hot) paprika – 2 tsp.
  • Cumin – 1 tsp.
  • Basil – 0.5 tsp.
  • Cloves – 2 florets
  • Salt, ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Dry white or red wine – 50 gr.
  • Lemon – 1 pc.
  • Any unpretentious cooked fish or meat under this sauce becomes a delicacy. It is made based on olive oil, dry wine, and garlic and is first used as a marinade, keeping the fish in it for about one hour, then pouring it over the cooked delicacy.
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