Sunday, January 1, 2012
Many people regard tuna as the king of sushi. The tuna family
consists of at least fifty different species, of which about ten are
used for sushi. The bluefin tuna (hon-maguro) and yellowfin tuna
(kihada) are especially well-suited for making sushi. Tuna can live
for up to 30 years and grow to great size, up to 3-4 metres in length.
The price commanded by a fine tuna can exceed that of the highest
quality beef. Tuna can be caught year-round in different parts of
Bluefin tuna, which is about five times as fatty as the yellowfin and
consequently has a stronger taste, is regarded as the best for sushi.
Tuna has about ten times as much fat in the belly muscle as in the
back muscle. The latter are, therefore, red, whereas the former are
paler and have less firm layers of connective tissue.
Fish stores do not always have fresh tuna on hand, but frozen fillets
can certainly be used, even if they might have lost a little moisture
and taste. For nigiri-zushi you should make sure that you purchase
a fillet that is sufficiently wide to permit you to cut off pieces that
are an appropriate size for placing on the rice balls.
Make sure that you trim away any connective tissue membranes thatmight be found between the larger muscle fibres. Cut the musclefibres crosswise or at an angle so that the slice does not come apart
along the myotomes.
The red muscle bundles of the tuna are surrounded in several
places by looser layers of muscle that are richer in fat and serve as
insulation. Sushi lovers regard the fatty belly muscle ( toro) of the
tuna as a particular delicacy. It is very expensive, but it melts in the
mouth and is often the fi rst piece eaten at a sushi meal. As toro is
soft and has loose fi bres, it can easily fall apart when it is sliced, so
this must be done extremely delicately.
When tuna is eaten as sushi or sashimi, the amount of soy sauce used should be decreased as
the fattiness of the tuna increases.