TUNA O-TORO OF SPAIN | Hispanoasianbusinessconsulting

Museo del Atun tuna being processed

By Sue Chien Lee

For everything, there is a season. And the season for Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is here. It is the most prized species which the Japanese call toro . * Celebrated with visceral joy and awe, the bluefin tuna is offered in countless ways. Stews, tapas, raciones (racions, which are smaller portions than typical dish, thus making it perfect to share), in a tuna tataki (raw with Kikkoman, lime and herbs), preserved with D.O. (Denomination of Origin), smoked and the roe salted (eaten thinly sliced ​​with salted almonds as an aperitif).

The artisanal way of catching bluefin tuna which migrate in spring and the Beginning of summer from the Atlantic through the Straits of Gibraltar to warmer waters in the Mediterranean to spawn is still in use today. The trap trap began with the Phoenicians 3,000 years ago and was later adopted by the Romans and other succeeding cultures. "Almadraba" comes from Arabic and means the place to strike or fight.

This unique Spanish fishing technique, the David Ibáñez of the Tourism Board of Cadiz tells me, is sustainable and respectful of the coastal environment. The vagaries of time have not eroded their essence as it is in stark contrast to other places where tuna is generally longlined (caught on long ropes with thousands of baited hooks in series). This last technique indiscriminately impacts many other animals and it is said that hundreds of thousands of dead fish, seabirds, and turtles are discarded by bluefin tuna hunters every year.

Toro is the general term for the belly flesh of the bluefin tuna - the granddaddy of all tunas - and can be divided into two main types: chu-toro Cut from the less fatty sides of the belly, and o-toro , the under-belly of the fish towards the head, which is exquisitely supple and marbled. The allure of o-toro is matched only by its price: It can easily be the most expensive item on a sushi menu. Being the largest and most highly prized member of the tuna family, the bluefin is also the most expensive fish in the ocean. Source: http://www.sustainablesushi.net/the-fish/toro/

Spain is a country beloved by its people, not least because it lives by seasonal sojourns such as the Almadraba and the cherry season Which is just beginning. The land, its seas, the seasons and that perennial cry to abide by the ebb and flow of time runs deep in our minds and veins.

Pictures provided by http://www.cadizturismo.com (Barbate , El Campero Restaurant, Tuna Dish, Authors: Ignacio Fando and Gonzalo Hörh; Toñi Flores Cebrián and Oscar Chamorro).

Sue is a writer with a Malaysian-Spanish heart and an affinity for zen. She can be reached @suechienlee

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