Albacore Tuna // Cold Smoke
Originally made for my daughters who didn’t like fish at the time, I developed a strategem by cold smoking the tuna in an effort to pass it off as smoked bacon. Aside from the fact that this did indeed work, the new product created is uniquely remarkable, and one of the favourites here at the smokery.
Cold smoking means that the proteins do not denature, and the fats do not seperate from the proteins which happens in the hot smoking process. This makes for delicious, firm, buttery textured fish with very light salt and a beautiful hum of beech-smoke in the backgroud.
Sliced thin and dipped into garlic and ginger shoyu, or chopped into cubes with a squeeze of lime, chopped parsley, capers and an egg yolk… fab! And of course, diced and fried for tuna carbonara.
Albacore is highly seasonal in Irish waters, appearing in late summer in large numbers and is caught by the local vessels of the south west of Ireland.
Unlike yellowfin and bluefin tuna which most of us recognise, albacore is white-fleshed, smaller than other specii and there is a reasonable quota for the Irish fleet.
During the 1980s when salmon stocks started to decline, I actively sought alternative fatty fish. The local boats had started fishing for albacore which Spanish and French vessels had been fishing for off the Irish coast for decades. As it has a good fat content, this lends itself to the smoking process.