Little Tunny

In Tuna

Little Tunny from the Atlantic and from the tropical seas, from the family of scombrids, which in France is mostly caught in the Bay of Biscay. It presents a pale flesh and usually measures less than 1m., But some specimens can reach 1.50 m. It is very popular in Brittany, and it is cooked with anchovies, braised in white wine with tomato, onion and garlic and served with capers. It is the finest canned tuna, and its loin is much appreciated.

TUNA:Latin: Thunnus thynnus – Fr.:Thon rouge; Toun – Al .: Grosser Thun, Roter Thun
Eng .: Common tunny; Bluefin tunny – It .: Tonno rosso – Port .: Rabilho
Cat .: Tonyna – Vasc .: Atun-gorri; Egalaburr

Name of several large marine fish, of the family of scombrids, similar to each other in their appearance and form. Tuna was already much appreciated in antiquity. The Phoenicians subjected it to salting and smoked it. In the middle of the IV century BC, Archestrato recommended, apparently, the Great Tuna of Samos and that of Sicily, marinated. In the Middle Ages, tuna prepared in this way was always appreciated (Tonnine consisted of tuna, plowed, cut, roasted or fried in olive oil, then salted and very spicy). At the end of the 17th century, the merchants of spices still negotiated with marinated tuna.

From the nineteenth century, tuna fishing was extended to the Atlantic. In 1947 the Breton fishermen began fishing on the high seas off the coast of Africa. Fresh tuna is a fatty fish (13% lipids and 225 kcal per 100 grams) and a good source of protein, phosphorus, iodine, iron and vitamins A, B and D.


The term “tuna” is reserved primarily for five species of fish.

– Yellow fin tuna, which seldom sells fresh, is mainly destined for canning.

– The beautiful white north or albacore also goes to the canning and once was more abundant than today. Its white flesh, particularly tasty, resembles that of veal and is cooked like this. The Breton white tuna, which is sold fresh, is cooked braised after marinating, or grilled, sliced.

– The nice list presents a red meat not very firm. It is used above all on the less demanding preparations based on tuna.

– The ventrudo or bigeye is consumed mostly fresh, but does not have the delicate flavor of the white bonito of the north.

– Tuna is sold almost always fresh. Their preparations are mainly inspired by Basque, Sicilian or Provencal cuisine: cut into slices, marinated, then braised or cooked in marinade.

– There are other fish close to the authentic tunas: the Atlantic bonito, which is cooked in slices like the beautiful white of the north, although it does not have its finesse or flavor; the melva, a small fish of the warm seas, with a dark blue back and white flesh, which is prepared smoked; the tunny, dark meat, which is used in canning but which does not deserve the name “tuna”.


From the second century BC, the Greeks knew the journeys of the tunas, migrating fish that move in dense whites. In fact, very old fishing procedures have survived, especially in Sicily and Croatia.

In Provence, at the end of the 19th century, the viewers announced the approach of tuna schools still with horn sounds. On the eve of the First World War, in France inshore fishery, limited to the Mediterranean, while the fishing of the white bonito of the north, modernized around 1850, prospered in the Bay of Biscay.

The first tuna boat designed to send fishing to canneries was built in 1906. From 1930, several ship owners from San Juan de Luz were equipped with boats that had refrigerated warehouses.

Nowadays fishing is industrialized and carried out with scientific knowledge: markings to better understand migrations, detection of banks by helicopter, or even by satellite, etc.


In many European countries tuna is consumed mostly in canned. The variety of preparations allows to make composite salads and prepare stuffed vegetables (avocados, peppers, tomatoes) and various hors d’oeuvres.

Canned tuna is presented whole (a block consisting of pieces generally pressed), or shredded (small crumbs), or in fillets (elongated pieces).

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