Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Tonno Sott'Olio

I have so many intriguing pictures of projects in process. I am waiting for the goose parts until they've fully cured. The goose cracklings and rendered fat pictures are seriously sexy. And alas I missed taking a shot of bastirma brought camping this weekend. Fresh sourdough flat breads cooked (ok, slightly burned) on a hot griddle, yoghurt and tahini with cukes, sour pickles. It was nice.
But I came home to this. Trust me, it is worth doing. Go to a good Japanese grocery store and buy a cut of sushi grade albacore tuna. I've never seen it before at our local Sakura. It was labeled ahi, yellow fin, and albacore, though I'm not sure it's really the same species that goes into a can as solid white tuna. We're talking a huge fish, not something you pick up on a fishing trip. Well, maybe you do, and if so, please bring me along.
Take this and salt it well. Nothing more. Leave it for a week. No, I take that back. Look at the picture! Peppered well. And put under weight in the fridge for a week, turned every day.
Then smoke gently over a smouldering oak log for about 15 minutes. Let cool. Place under oil in little glass jars. I know you scientist geeks will tell me to pressure cook at 8,000 pounds pressure in an industrial strength canner. I'm only keeping this for another week, in the fridge, not on the shelf.
It reminded me of two things. Tuna in a can, really incredibly solid and mild flavored. Nothing like good European tuna in a can like Flotta or A's do Mar which is decidedly fishy. And it also reminded me of smoked whitefish, which my mother tells me was my favorite food as a baby. She would break it up, put it on my high chair and leave me for hours to savor it slowly. Apparently kept me quiet! It still would today if I could find anything like it here in the wasteland of the Central Valley. Seriously I've never seen it for sale anywhere in California.
Anyway, this tasted just like it, but not quite as oily. I am about to have it again for dinner right now. I'd give me at least an hour. Preferably in the high chair.

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