Bigeye Tuna

Thunnus obesus

Other names: Bigeye, big eye tuna.

Family: Scombridae (mackerels).

Description:

This marine-dwelling fish lives in all of Australia’s warm temperate and tropical open waters and is wild-caught, mainly off the southeastern and southwestern coasts by longlines, with smaller amounts taken off Queensland by pole-and-line and handlines.

Season: Available year round, but in limited supply as most is exported.

Size and Weight: Commonly grows to 100kg and 180cm, but can reach 210kg and 250cm.

Price: High priced (highest priced Tuna after Southern Bluefin).

Relations:

Albacore, Bonito, Longtail Tuna, Mackerels (Atlantic, Blue, Chub, Frigate, Grey, School, Shark, Spanish, Spotted), Mackerel Tuna, Northern Bluefin Tuna, Skipjack Tuna, Slender Tuna, Southern Bluefin Tuna, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna.

To Buy:

Usually sold as sashimi, but also as steaks or cutlets (depending on quality). Look for reddish to burgundy flesh (colour varies with cut) that is firm, lustrous and moist without any dull brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell. Always buy sashimi-grade fish if it is to be served raw or rare.

To Store:

Make sure whole fish is scaled, gilled, gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Wrap steaks and cutlets in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC. Sashimi-grade fish should be eaten within 24 hours of purchase, or else cooked.

To Cook:

Average yield is 70-75%. Has a medium flavour, medium oiliness (generally higher than Yellowfin Tuna) and moist, firm flesh, which quickly becomes dry if overcooked. The cooked flesh is creamy brown in colour and breaks into large flakes; there are very few bones to worry about. The centre bone of cutlets can be removed and a filling placed in the cavity. Cut thick steaks into serving-size portions to allow even heat penetration.

Cooking Methods:

Poach, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue, smoke, raw (sashimi), pickle. The firm flesh holds together well in soups, curries and casseroles and can be cubed for kebabs.

Goes well with:

Anchovies, balsamic vinegar, capers, capsicum, eggplant, garlic, ginger, lemon, lime, mayonnaise, olive oil, soy sauce, tomato, wasabi.

Alternatives:

Atlantic Salmon, Marlins, Mackerels, Swordfish, other Tunas, Yellowtail Kingfish.

Imports:

Sashimi-quality Tunas are imported from New Zealand and other South Pacific countries.

Recipes:

Barbecued Tuna Steaks with Walnut Sauce >  
Basque Tuna Casserole (Marmitako) >
Char-grilled Tuna with Anchovy Mayonnaise >
Fish Satay > 
Hand Moulded Sushi (Nigiri-zushi) >
Mixed Thin & Thick Sushi Rolls (Norimaki) > 
Salade Nicoise >
Seared Tuna with Rocket & Potato Salad >
Seared Tuna with Salsa Verde > 
Smoked Tuna Salad > 
Spanish Tuna 'Meatballs' > 
Tuna Baked in Paper Parcels >
Tuna Tartare >