After a recent post about canned tuna in oil, I was contacted by Alistair Blair of The Fish Society. You may recall it was The Fish Society, that sent me that wonderful Dover sole last year. This time Alistair offered up something that would change the way I see canned tuna. Ortiz brand Ventresca de Bonito del Norte is already their best selling canned (or should I say tinned) seafood but they want to spread the word to those of us overseas.
Ventresca is the Italian term for tuna belly. In this case, Ventresca de Bonito del Norte is belly meat from “white tuna” aka albacore. You may be thinking, what is the big deal about albacore? Well, these are cuts of albacore you don’t see in cans with Charlie or Horatio Bee on the label. It sounded great but I wondered what the difference would be compared to your regular can of solid albacore tuna. Before I knew it , the box came in from The Fish Society with three tins of the ventresca.
The tins came in sturdy red cardboard boxes with ingredient and nutrition information in several languages. Once out of the box the oval shaped tin was in good shape and as you can see, has a convenient pull tab.
The tuna was packed in oil that was obviously higher quality than what you normally see with tuna in oil. The thin cuts of ventresca were easily separated with a fork. You could tell immediately this was no ordinary can of “solid white albacore” that you make sandwiches from. The tuna itself, being belly cuts, can have a pinkish hue because it has more fat than the parts used in typical canned tuna. That fat is what makes it so tender, it is almost spreadable.
No recipe needed, just some good bread and some of the olive oil from the tin.
I don’t think I’d ever use the term “silky” to describe canned tuna, but that’s exactly what this ventresca was. Silky smooth, melt in your mouth tender, without any fishy flavor. It has the taste of albacore, but because it is belly meat, it’s smoother and so much better than anything I’ve tried out of a tin. Alistair told me it was special but I was surprised at how good it was. On thin pieces of baguette it needed nothing, and you could tell the oil it was packed was good quality as well.
I brought two tins down my grandparents for the family to sample on grandma’s home made Italian bread before Sunday dinner. This group of taste testers included at least three family members who have caught tuna commercially. My dad has caught bluefin, yellowfin and albacore, while my grandfather once harpooned a 600 pound bluefin off the bow of the family dragger. Needless to say these guys know good tuna, and they were floored by how good this was. Everyone who tried it exclaimed “Wow! where did you get this?” on first bite. Seriously, it it that good.
Where Can I Get Some?
If you would like to try some of this incredible Ventresca de Bonito, here is your chance to get some at an amazing price. The Fish Society is offering readers of BuyingSeafood a special deal to get the word out about this awesome tuna. The BSF Special at The Fish Society will net you 3 tins of the best canned tuna I’ve ever tried, with shipping included for about $54. That’s a price even better than what you can find on Amazon.
Having a few tins of this tuna in your pantry is like having money in the bank. Next time you need to make a culinary statement, all you have to to is open one up. However you decide to use this Ventresca de Bonito, make sure you keep it simple and let its own special flavor stand out.
A big thank you to The Fish Society for sending me this wonderful tuna for review!