Albacore tuna have torpedo-shaped bodies with dark metallic blue backs, and silver on the sides and belly. They have very long pectoral fins and a crescent-shaped, deeply forked tail.
They can grow up to about 1.2 metres in length and 55 kg. They are commonly found at 50-90 cm in length and 3-22 kg.
Albacore tuna can swim at speeds exceeding 80 km/hr.
Unlike other tuna that eat primarily fish, albacore mainly consume cephalopods (e.g. squid, octopus, cuttlefish, etc).
The catch of Albacore tuna in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery represents less than 2 percent of the total albacore catch in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.
It is important to match the cut of tuna to the type of dish being prepared
The belly (Otoro) of the tuna will have a much higher fat content requiring much less heat to bring out the flavours. Caution when grilling this cut on the barbeque as the oil may burn leaving an acrid flavour. It is much better to use the back loin (Akami), which has a lower oil content.
Cutlets and steaks can be cooked by grilling, barbecuing, baking, smoking, poaching or marinating.
Japanese demand for sushi and sashimi has highlighted some species’ superb eating qualities raw.
Grilled or barbecued, tunas are best seared and left rare centrally. Highlight with intense flavours such as charred capsicum, eggplant, balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressings on a bed of bitter greens and aioli, roasted garlic, and Japanese wasabi, soy and pickled ginger.
Tuna is also an excellent dish sliced thinly and briefly dropped into simmering “fish stock” or cooked as an Asian “hot-pot” to each diner’s preference.