That's a Big Fish: Cleaning a Whole Tuna
We had the opportunity to buy a whole tuna the other day--just about straight off the boat. I think it had been in the ocean not eight hours before. It weighed 22.5 pounds. Beautiful fish, truly. But we had NO IDEA how to clean it. As it happens, it was much easier than we feared.
We found this, thanks to dem You Tubes:
...and we just did what he said. In the picture at top, you'll see John making the first cuts along the top of the tuna. To the left, you'll see the first quartering.
Here is the loin, just taken out of the tuna whole. It really was as easy as the guy in the video makes it look; the fish is divided into quarters and you just follow the bones. The guts stay attached to the head, and you throw the whole thing out.
The loin cut up into steaks. We ate quite a bit of the scrap meat raw as sashimi. SO good, buttery, delicious. Didn't need anything. We cut the collar meat away as well--what the Japanese call the kama--and grilled it with salt and lemon. Holy cats. Real treat.
We chose to vacuum-pack and freeze our steaks, but you could can it, too. I wasn't in the mood for breaking out the pressure cooker (it was something like 95 degrees out), so freezer it was.
All told after waste we got about 16 pounds of meat from a 22.5 pound fish. It worked out to about $3.25 a pound. If you've priced fish lately, you know that's dirt cheap for wild, line-caught fish.
But wait! Don't throw out the scraps--the tail, the bones and so on. Put them in a pot with an onion, some veggie scraps, salt, fresh ginger. Bring to a rolling boil, skim it, turn it down to the lowest setting and let it simmer overnight. Strain, cool. You will get the most amazing fish broth. It sets up into a firm gelatin in the fridge, which is what you want broth to do whatever it's made from. Delicious, especially if you like chowders or Japanese-style soups. It freezes well in quart jars, or you might can it.
So don't be afraid of tuna!