The knock on the back door gave us a fright. We don't generally get visitors in the country, you know, especially at dinner time, in the dark, on a week night.
But it was only B our neighbour, delivering several kilos of freshly caught tuna that a work colleague had given him. Living in household of non fish eaters, B knew we'd love it. What a generous gift!
My first instinct was to chuck it in the deep freeze, to be lost in the midst of time, forgotten along with the pig heads and pet mince that lurk in the bottom of the chest freezer (that has been mistakenly used in bolognese by the way. Not good).
Luckily B delivered it during the rush hour so I had a few hours to think about what to do with it before entombing it to an icy grave. Preserving it! Brilliant! Did you see that episode of Gourmet Farmer when they caught that tuna and preserved it on the beach? How awesome was that? I had a plan!
I must tell you that I love canned tuna, but I don't eat it anymore. Sigh. I used to love Sirena, not only for the taste but for that little lovely mermaid on the lid. For a couple of years now I've realised that sadly it's not sustainable, so it's been off the menu. There are other more sustainable brands available, I know, but to me they have the texture of cat food and not those lovely chunks like Sirena, so I don't eat them. I was excited at the prospect of making my own.
It's dead easy. I had a peak at Matthew's recipe on the SBS site, and I also found a recipe, on a blog called Calabria From Scratch *, which I liked because you cut the tuna into thick slices and seemed slightly more manageable. I kind of crossed the two together, Matthew's extra care with preserving and avoiding botulism using the aesthetic of the Calabrian recipe.
Simply boil the tuna in salted water for two hours, drain, then pack into jars, cover with olive oil and boil the sealed jars for two hours. Et voila! The Calabrians leave theirs in the pantry for one month before tucking in, and some say to leave it for six months. I'm not sure I can wait one week.
Now we have guilt free tuna to last for a while, and enough jars for gifts and plenty to share with B. I may deliver them next door at night, and return the favour of a gift in the dark.
PS Sarah Wilson has this great post about what tuna you can eat.
* The link doesn't seem to be working at the moment, but hopefully it's temporary and will be back.