Hawaiian Albacore ~ Tombo
We're switching gears a bit this week, featuring the fresh Hawaiian albacore "tombo"
|fresh tombo steaks
tuna. The little dab of sunshine and the emerging tulip tips have me remembering that it won't always
be winter and I'm ready for a little Aloha! When the weather gets snarly out on the local ocean we can always count on a quick hop up to the airport and a box full of iced tropicals to lift our spirits. Read on for an excellent Dijon garlic marinating recipe and some fishy info on the delicious Hawaiian tombo.
Also in the case this week we have a small chunk of some lovely opah (moonfish) and ahi (yellowfin tuna) that came along for the ride with the tombo. On Friday we're expecting fresh herring from Monterey Bay and some Florida pink shrimp from Key West. There's some fresh rock, true and black cods along with wild Quinault River steelhead from our local waters and halibut and king salmon out of Alaska. We also have a nice assortment of specialty oysters (Kumamoto, Shigoku and Blue Pool) to go with our Henderson Community Farm Pacifics and Totten Inlet clams and mussels. Cooked Crab! Live Crab! Crab Cakes! Crab Meat! (Even some King Crab... Ha!) Hope to see you. J
When you say the word "albacore" around here, most people think of the local cold water tuna that appear off our Pacific coast in the summertime. These tuna are the same species, yet quite different in culinary terms, from the tropical tuna by the same name.
To avoid this confusion/comparison, we refer to the tropical albacore by its Hawaiian name - tombo. The word "tombo" means "dragonfly" and whimsically describes the very long pectoral fins that the fish have. Tombo tuna is delicious fish and although it's much lighter in color, it's quite similar to the popular, pricier ahi tuna used for sashimi and sushi. Tombo is firm, flavorful and an excellent source of healthy lean protein. Most environmental seafood groups list tombo as either a "best choice" or "good alternative" and the fishery is reasonably abundant, sustainable and healthy. We like to either pan sear or grill tombo and the only way to run into trouble is to overcook it. It gets very firm and dries out quickly if it's cooked too long (a tragedy in the kitchen!) so our best advice is to leave it slightly rare in the center, (or mostly rare if it doesn't make you squirm!), much like a good medium rare steak. It marinates quite nicely, so read on for an easy recipe and get ready for a little sunshine on your plate!
Dijon Garlic Tuna
|We first had this particular tuna preparation on a summer evening cooked over a wood fire grill. The party included good friends, happy children and a poor dog that didn't get nearly as many hand-outs as he'd hoped because the tuna was so good. We're offering up the weather appropriate pan seared version of cooking techniques, but feel free to fire up the grill if you're feeling bold! makes enough marinade for about 6 adult servings
|½ cup Dijon mustard2 T olive oil
¼ cup dry white wine
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
3 sprigs (about 1 T) finely chopped fresh oregano (or use dried if you must!)
Salt and pepper to taste
6-8oz tombo steak per person
Add all non-tuna ingredients to a bowl and mix vigorously with a whisk to combine well and get the oil emulsified. Lay your tuna steaks in the bowl, coat with the sauce and let sit for at least 40 minutes/up to 2 hours.
Preheat a fry pan with 1 T vegetable oil on medium high heat. With a pair of tongs, remove the tuna steaks from the marinade, shake a bit to remove the excess sauce and place in the pan. Stand back and let them sizzle! When the steaks have browned (about 2-3 minutes) turn them over and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove from pan and let the tuna rest on a cutting board for a moment. Slice against the grain and serve over rice, pasta or salad.
p.s. If you totally blow it and your tuna turns up overcooked, don't cry over it too long. Intead, pull out a jar of mayo, some finely diced onion, celery and pickles and mix it all up in a bowl with your tuna. Slap it on some crusty bread to make the best tuna salad sandwich you've ever had. Crisis averted! (also a good plan for leftovers... )
This recipe is courtesy of our excellent friend Chef Clay at Roundbelly Catering. Contact Roundbelly to make this recipe (along with just about anything else you can imagine) for your next catered event at 352-3727 or firstname.lastname@example.org .