Market Report: Ventresca Vent

Img_6465Of all the foods we’re told not to eat, top-grade tuna is proving to be the hardest one for me to kick completely. It’s not that I was eating all the time. I was never a habitual tuna salad, seared tuna kind of guy. I was more of a once every couple of months, premium toro sort of fellow, only eating it when i could financially justify splurging on the good stuff. The stuff I always said achieved what prime beef only dreamed of being: unctuous, meaty, fatty enough to begin to liquify at room temperature but never greasy. But with fish stocks tipping so low and tuna being so overfished (and when farmed, not so nicely to the fish or the environment), I have just about nixed my habit all together. But then my otherwise morally upstanding wife brought home a jar of ventresca tuna (that’s the belly cut, the fattiest cut, not far from the toro cut) from Trader Joe’s and one afternoon I couldn’t resist and had it in a snack so minimalist that you could even call it micromalist:

1. open jar
2. spoon tuna and a bit of the olive oil it’s packed in on bread
3. eat

It was so darned good that Desmond, Violet, and I polished off a jar in fewer than 3 minutes. So this is how we end up with our oceans in crisis, I thought, wiping a bit of olive oil from my chin. And now I’m having a hard time not buying a case of the stuff. But I’m not going to do it. And I need suggestions for earth and fish friendly replacements that match the snack in both pleasure and ease. Any ideas, dear readers?
—Hugh

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2 Responses to Market Report: Ventresca Vent

  1. Trixie says:

    I have faced this dilemma many times myself — craving the fatty goodness of tuna while not wanting to pump my kids’ bodies with mercury. Our latest solution comes simply from down the aisle . . . at Trader Joe’s. Try the smoked trout. A little flakier than tuna, but still full-bodied and delicious. We make it regularly with a bit of greens from the garden and a simple vinagrette from the oil the fish is packed in and lemons. Not a bad alternative. And, my 9 year old craves it like it was chocolate.

  2. malika says:

    Not all tuna is created equal! There are several companies selling handline-caught tuna, which is both healthier for people (less mercury) and for the environment. Dave’s Albacore is one (davesalbacore.com) that sells tuna packed in olive oil. But it’s pretty pricey– more of a special treat than a standby.
    What about smoked oysters? They’re delicious – oyster farming is pretty sustainable, isn’t it? Lots richer than olive oil tuna, though – but when I was a kid, we went through those cans in just about three minutes, too.

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