If the tuna you are used to is confused for chicken by some, you have yet to experience the delicacy that is Spanish Bonito del Norte tuna. Upholding the country's tradition of conservas, preserving the best foods in jars and tins, Bonito tuna (Thunnus alalunga) is line-caught in the Bay of Biscay off the coast of northern Spain. Brought back to shore, premium loins of the fish are packed in glass jars and preserved in just olive oil and salt. The result? What has been described as "one of the great gastronomic pleasures of everyday life."
Bonito tuna is renowned for its delicate texture and flavor. Featured on The Feed Podcast (2015 James Beard award-winner for best podcast) from Chef Rick Bayless and 13-time James Beard award winner food journalist Steve Dolinsky, Rick says while sampling the tuna, "This stuff is super special... When you hear about olive oil or butter poached fish, basically that's what we have in the jar here." Steve adds, "I could eat that plain. I don't need to have that with anything else, actually."
The name translates to “Beauty of the North”, as only the finest examples are auctioned off for canning. With such high praise and an exultant name, you may be wondering just what to do with this exceptional fish. Fear not. Below are three quick and simple serving suggestions that can be prepared in just a few minutes each. Whether you want to serve an impressive appetizer to guests, construct a quick salad for lunch, or enjoy a high-protein snack, Bonito tuna will be your new go-to ingredient of choice.
Bonito del Norte Tuna Melt Pintxo
Bonito del Norte tuna melt sandwiches, pintxo-style. Or, sliders. Or, baby bocadillos (kind of, the bread isn't sliced in the proper length-wise fashion to be deemed a bocadillo). Regardless of what you call these small bites, they turned out fairly well as most things do when they include melted cheese. Bonito tuna, piquillo peppers, Basque sheep's milk cheese, pan-fried guindilla peppers.
Bonito del Norte Tuna Salad
In a rush at lunch? Not a problem. Top that lettuce with Bonito tuna, guindilla peppers, piquillo peppers, and some olives. Dress with extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar and you'll have a high-protein, light, and healthy midday meal.
Bonito del Norte Tuna & Cantabrian Anchovies
A simple, Spanish conservas snack can be constructed in no time. On lightly toasted bread add tuna loins wrapped with an anchovy fillet, a touch of aioli or mayo, and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.