For the last 3 months we have been enjoying wonderful fresh Blue-Fin tuna which are running here on the Far South Coast of NSW.
It is a real spectacle to go down to the harbour in Bermagui to watch the fishing boats unload their precious cargo.
The Blue-Fin are majestic creatures, so beautiful and built for speed. The catch is strictly controlled. At the moment they are more readily available locally with many restaurants closed and fewer flights to their most important market in Japan where they are prized for sushi and sashimi.
The season is coming to an end so I decided to make this classic recipe to preserve the tuna and extend our enjoyment. The recipe, which I found in Sicily, famous for its tuna catching season, was used before tuna canneries were established. The flavour of the tuna is quite different from canned tuna – subtle and gently fishy with a firm and moist flesh. It is ideal for a range of summer salads.
• take one piece of tuna, about 1 kg
• 1 litre of good quality virgin olive oil
• 150 ml grape seed oil ( this prevents the oil to solidify in fridge)
• 4 fresh bay leaves
• a few fresh thyme sprigs
• 1 teaspoon whole pepper corns
• 2-3 chillies
• court bouillon
• 2 celery stalks and leaves. chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 3 cloves
• 1 large Spanish onion cut into pieces
• 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
• 4 teaspoons salt
• place all the ‘court buillion’ ingredients in saucepan with 2 litres of water
• gently boil for 30 minutes to release the flavours
• now add your tuna and gently simmer for about 15 minutes
• the time depends on the thickness of your tuna, it should be only just cooked
• let the tuna cool in the ‘court boillion’ for about 3 hours
• take it out and dry it well with paper towels
• put the dried tuna in a jar or dish, cover it with the oils
• add the bayleaves, thyme, chillies and pepper corns
• make sure the oil covers all the tuna
• refrigerate for 48 hours before use.