Buying fish is a confusing business. But for anyone looking for a sustainable source of canned tuna, the indefatigable Russ Parsons, writing in this week’s Los Angeles Times, has a suggestion: DIY. On the West Coast, the albacore season is well under way, and the fish is considered a bright green, low-guilt option when troll-caught by smaller boats. (It’s also almost always lower in mercury than older longline-caught albacore.)
Artisan canned tuna has become a luxury product—Parsons cites brands as high as $50 per pound. But his recipe is a smart end-run around those prices: It’s not so much canned as conserved, he says—it isn’t pantry-safe—and the recipe is so simple it hardly counts as a recipe. If you don’t try it in endless variations, that is, but who wouldn’t do that:
Cooked in water, tuna tastes more purely of fish and the texture is firmer and meatier. Cooked in oil, the flavor is more complex and the texture is softer and richer. Cooked for a long time in oil, the tuna absorbs even more of the garlic and spice flavors, but dries out a bit. Cooked briefly, the flavor isn’t quite as developed, but the texture is nicer.
Can Russ Parsons come live in my kitchen?