Growing up almost everyone had their mom make them tuna salad sandwiches. They were delicious and super easy to make requiring only a bit of mayonnaise and your seasonings of choice. However, this is not the only dish that you can make with tuna. Tuna can have a very deep flavor that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, especially if you’re eating bluefin tuna.
Bluefin tuna is the fattiest species of tuna fish that is consumed by humans. It is one of the larger species as well with some specimens reaching over ten feet in length. Compared to other species of tuna the bluefin tuna has a richer flavor with an almost buttery texture from the high fat content.
This fish is available all over the world and is typically considered a healthy food for most people. Just watch out for mercury and make sure to follow guidelines so you don’t eat it too many days per week.
What is Bluefin Tuna?
Although bluefin tuna is a common food and many people have it before, few people think of it as something more than what is on their plate. The bluefin tuna is a unique species of tuna with multiple characteristics that set it apart from others.
Bluefin tuna is a type of tuna species that is known for its large size and delicious flavor. There are three main types of bluefin tuna: the Atlantic bluefin tuna, the Pacific bluefin tuna, and the southern bluefin tuna. You will see some variance between the individual types of bluefin tuna, but they are overall more similar to each other than other types of tuna.
When you first look at a bluefin tuna you’ll notice that its body is streamlined and muscular, with a cylindrical shape and a pointed head.
A lot of people know that tuna fish are large, but few know exactly how large they are and it can be difficult to grasp when all you’ve seen is a fillet on your dinner plate. The largest members of the species can reach 1000 pounds and be over 10 feet long. The largest bluefin tuna on record was 1,400 pounds and was caught near the coast of Canada.
Bluefin tuna is one of the largest fish that is commercially available. They are always wild caught from the ocean, but they are a common fish and if you head to the coast you’ll probably be able to find dishes made from bluefin tuna in your favorite restaurants.
Its coloration can vary depending on the species and the age of the fish, but generally, it has a dark blue or blackish upper body with silver-colored sides and belly. It has two dorsal fins, the first one being taller than the second one, and strong, retractable finlets along its back and belly.
- Atlantic bluefin tuna are known to undertake long migrations across the Atlantic, from breeding grounds in the Mediterranean to feeding grounds in the Gulf of Maine.
- Bluefin tuna are warm-blooded, which allows them to maintain their body temperature and swim in cold waters.
- Bluefin tuna is a top predator in the ocean, feeding on a variety of prey including smaller fish, squid, and crustaceans.
- Bluefin tuna is capable of swimming at incredibly high speeds for extended periods of time due to its ability to regulate its body temperature.
Why is Bluefin Tuna Prized for its Flavor?
One of the main reasons that bluefin tuna is so popular is due to its flavor. It has a very different flavor than other varieties of tuna fish which makes it much richer and more flavorful.
The flavor of bluefin tuna is often described as rich, buttery, and meaty with a slightly sweet taste. This is because bluefin tuna is a fattier fish compared to other types of tuna, such as skipjack or yellowfin tuna. The high fat content in bluefin tuna gives it a unique texture and flavor, with the meat being melt-in-your-mouth tender and juicy.
The fat content also contributes to the distinct taste of bluefin tuna, as it contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can give the fish a slightly nutty flavor. Overall, the flavor of bluefin tuna is considered to be more complex and nuanced than other types of tuna, which makes it a prized ingredient in high-end sushi and other culinary preparations.
The exact nutritional profile of bluefin tuna will depend on the species and the individual fish. However, there are general nutrients that you can count on getting when you eat bluefish tuna.
One serving of bluefish tuna, 100 grams of tuna, contains:
- Calories: 144
- Protein: 29 grams
- Fat: 3.3 grams
- Vitamin B12: 113% of the recommended daily intake (RDI)
- Selenium: 57% of the RDI
- Niacin: 50% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 25% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 21% of the RDI
- Vitamin D: 15% of the RDI
Based on this nutritional breakdown we can see that bluefin tuna is a good source of protein with the healthy fats that your body needs to thrive. It also contains some minerals that your body needs like potassium and zinc which some people find hard to consume in the right amounts.
However, there is one aspect of bluefin tuna that needs to be considered before deciding if it will be a part of your diet, the mercury content. Despite being a healthy food overall, bluefin tuna is also a high-mercury fish, which means that it should be consumed in moderation to avoid mercury toxicity.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that adults limit their consumption of bluefin tuna to no more than two servings per week. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as young children, should avoid eating bluefin tuna altogether due to the potential health risks associated with mercury exposure.
Bluefin vs. Other Types of Tuna
Bluefin tuna has a distinct flavor profile compared to other species of tuna, primarily due to its higher fat content. Its flavor is often described as rich, buttery, and meaty, with a slightly sweet taste. Other species of tuna, such as skipjack and yellowfin, have a leaner texture and milder flavor compared to bluefin.
Skipjack tuna is the most commonly consumed species of tuna globally, and it has a mild, slightly metallic taste.
Yellowfin tuna, also known as ahi tuna, has a mild flavor as well, with a slightly meaty texture. For this reason, yellowfin tuna is often the tuna that you’ll be eating when you order a “tuna steak” at a restaurant. Its less fishy texture helps to keep it from flaking apart.
Albacore tuna, also known as white tuna, has a milder flavor compared to bluefin tuna, with a lighter texture and a more delicate taste. The lighter flavor and more delicate taste make it a popular version of canned tuna. It also flakes apart more easily than other varieties, another major reason it is used for things such as tuna salad.
In general, the flavor of tuna can vary depending on its fat content, age, and the part of the fish that is consumed. The darker, more muscular parts of the fish, such as the belly or the toro (fatty belly meat), will have a richer flavor and higher fat content, while the lighter, leaner parts of the fish, such as the loin, will have a milder flavor and lower fat content.
If you prefer a less fatty flavor, leaner species of tuna like skipjack and yellowfin may be a better choice for you. However, if you enjoy the rich, buttery taste of bluefin tuna, it can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet when consumed in moderation.
How to Cook Bluefin Tuna
There are thousands of recipes out there showing different ways to cook bluefin tuna. You can make it with different glazes, on the grill, or in the oven, and you might even be able to find a microwave version if you look hard enough. You can also eat it raw in things like sushi or poke bowls.
If you want to keep things super simple, you can even use some bluefin tuna to make your favorite tuna salad recipe. Just keep in mind that you’ll probably end up with a much more expensive tuna salad than usual.
Here is one super simple recipe that you can use for bluefin tuna. It contains minimal ingredients and really lets the flavor of the fish shine through instead of covering it up with sauces and other complex ingredients that require more expertise to use correctly.
- 2 bluefin tuna steaks (about 6 oz. each)
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Lemon wedges
- Preheat a grill or a grill pan on medium-high heat.
- Pat dry the bluefin tuna steaks with a paper towel and season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Brush the steaks lightly with olive oil.
- Place the tuna steaks on the grill or grill pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the outside is seared and the inside is cooked to your liking.
- Remove the tuna steaks from the grill or grill pan and let them rest for a few minutes.
- Serve the tuna steaks with lemon wedges on the side for a refreshing burst of citrus.
The best part about this recipe is that it’s super easy to customize based on your flavor preferences. You can always throw in some extra spices to add an extra kick of flavor. You can even marinate the tuna if you have time for an extra flavorful and delicious tuna steak.
If you haven’t already given bluefin tuna a try, use this article as the reason for trying it out. With its high fat content, it has a rich and buttery texture that you’re sure to enjoy no matter how you cook it. Bluefin tuna is also a fantastic source of lean protein if you are looking to increase the protein in your diet without just eating plain chicken.
Just make sure you consume bluefin tuna fish in moderation. Since it is a larger fish, bluefin tuna does contain higher levels of mercury than some other species. You’ll want to stick to eating bluefin tuna only a few times a week and if you’re pregnant you may want to avoid it altogether or only have the occasional portion.