YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

The Fish Market

The California Albacore Is a Best Buy

July 31, 1986|ISAAC CRONIN and PAUL JOHNSON | Cronin and Johnson are co-authors of "The California Seafood Cookbook."

The California albacore tuna season has just begun. Usually the fish show up in late June along the coast of Southern California then follow the warming currents up the coast toward Oregon until late October. During the rest of the year they migrate back and forth between California and Japan. Albacore are also found south of the Equator as well as in the Atlantic. The albacore prefer the deep blue ocean waters off shore. Seldom do they venture into inshore waters.

Albacore has always been the most desirable canned tuna, being labeled white meat tuna, but seldom has it been enjoyed fresh until recent years. Much of the commercial catch from the coast of California is made up of smaller schooling tunas. These small albacore of from 10 to 25 pounds are usually sold inexpensively. This should be one of the best fish buys in the market at this time of the year.

The meat of the albacore is a rosy pink that turns white when cooked. It is a fatty fish, but like other members of the tuna family, the fat is isolated in the darker tenderloin section. The fat can be cut off after cooking if desired but acts as a baster if left on. This is true for dry heat methods such as grilling, baking.

Albacore takes very well to poaching as it is milder flavored than the other members of the tuna family. Albacore's milder flavor will not overwhelm other ingredients in a soup or stew. No matter how it is cooked, plan on having leftovers that are great for salads, sandwiches or as a topping for pizza. Ceviche is a raw fish salad, "cooked" in a lime juice marinade.


1/2 pound albacore fillets, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 or 2 serrano or jalapeno chiles, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/4 cup lime juice, about

1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped


Lettuce leaves or spinach

Thinly sliced red onion

In stainless steel or glass bowl, combine fish, chiles and cilantro. Cover with lime juice, tossing fish to moisten pieces evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 to 4 hours. About 15 minutes before serving, add tomato and season to taste with salt. Serve on individual plates on bed of lettuce or spinach greens, garnished with onion slices. Makes 2 servings.

Los Angeles Times Articles