Tunafish Sushi

Why is it that tuna is so delicious but tuna fish tastes like, well, tuna fish?

The answer is that sushi tuna (e.g., yellowtail and bluefin) is an endangered delicacy whereas cousin skipjack, the round tuna, is the deer of the oceans, abundant and as a near to a sustainable fishery as there is. (That is not to say that fishing them is sustainable. Dolphins are notoriously caught in the skipjack nets and the dolphin-free methods yield tremendous “bycatches” that is, fish that are caught unintentionally and thrown back–dead.)

While perfectly palatable and even eaten as sushi; the lowly skipjack is not one of the more savory tunas and can nevertheless be elevated beyond the mayonnaise jar and the celery stalk. (Incidentally not all canned tuna is mediocre, in Spain among the great variety of tuna sold in cans are jars are many so precious that they are displayed in supermarkets behind plexi-glass and kept under lock and key.) Onions, sweet peppers, hot peppers, olive oil, curry powder, and tomato bruschetta all lend well to a can of tuna; and if you add some wasabi and a bit of soy sauce it tastes like sushi. Wasabi can be purchased in various forms: powder, paste, and mayonnaise; I prefer the powder as an economy. To add wasabi (actually the imitation wasabi, i.e., horse radish, that you get everywhere in place of the expensive wasabia japonica–don’t worry they taste the same) to other foods like mayonnaise first mix the powder into a paste then stir it in.

Tuna, wasabi, and mayonnaise are so good together that sushi places are putting them together with increasing frequency. But you can do this at home.

Tuna Sushi Sandwich (as opposed to a sushi tuna sandwich):

Wasabi paste
Mayonnaise
– or wasabi mayonnaise
Soy Sauce
1 can of tuna (better is better, but anything is ok)
Sliced pickled ginger (optional)
Nori (i.e., sushi sea weed)

Mix a desired amount of wasabi paste with a desired amount of mayonnaise (or just start with a good japanese made wasabi mayonnaise) and add it to the contents of a can of tuna with a desired amount of soy sauce. As an option you may add some pickled sushi ginger and top with some shreds of toasted seaweed. Serve on plain bread.

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Zack Barowitz

About Zack Barowitz

Zack Barowitz is a writer, artist, and flâneur. He is the radio host of "This Land Is" on WMPG Tuesday nights at 7:30. His work can be seen at ZacharyBarowitz.com.