WBEZ | tuna http://www.wbez.org/tags/tuna Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago seafood shoppers duped by mislabeled fish http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/chicago-seafood-shoppers-duped-mislabeled-fish-105671 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F80271781&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Seafood fans in Chicago have a high chance of being cheated when they buy fish in restaurants and grocery stores. A <a href="http://oceana.org/sites/default/files/reports/National_Seafood_Fraud_Testing_Results_FINAL.pdf" target="_blank">new study</a> by Oceana, a national conservation group, found 32 percent of samples tested in Chicago were mislabeled as another fish entirely.</p><p>But Chicago fishmonger Dirk Fucik says the false fish sales are probably not entirely the fault of retailers or fishermen.</p><p>&ldquo;The fisherman who catches the actual fish is not really the one playing games, I don&rsquo;t think,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;If he catches a red snapper, he goes to shore and sells it as such. But then once it gets to a processor, or to a broker, somewhere in that range I think things get mismarked.&rdquo;</p><p>By the time a restaurant or grocery store gets the packaged and filleted fish, it&rsquo;s undergone a covert change of identity somewhere up the chain. Fucik gave the example of a Vietnamese catfish called basa or swai that&rsquo;s imported in large amounts into the U.S. every year.</p><p>&ldquo;You&rsquo;ve never seen that on a menu, I&rsquo;ll betcha,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So that&rsquo;s getting used for something, somewhere. Mixed in with fish sandwiches or fish sticks, or whatever.&rdquo;</p><p>The study was neither random nor comprehensive. Volunteers sought out retailers that advertised fish species considered likely to be fakes based on previous cases or regional popularity, and the sample pools focused heavily on those types.</p><p>The two-year project analyzed the DNA of the purchased samples and found that a full 33 percent of the specimens were sold under a false name. Snapper was a scam in 87 percent of the samples, and 59 percent of tuna was actually another fish.&nbsp;</p><p>Fucik thinks high-end markets like his are less likely to fall into a counterfeit fish situation, because they tend to know more about their fish and it doesn&rsquo;t usually come tightly packaged.</p><p>&ldquo;I like to buy everything whole, because then you know exactly the species of fish you&rsquo;re buying,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>If anything is suspicious, he sends it back.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7044_043-scr.JPG" style="height: 518px; width: 690px;" title="If something sold as a red snapper actually looks like this tilefish, Dirk Fucik says, be suspicious. (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" /></p><p>&ldquo;If you know what you&rsquo;re doing, hopefully you don&rsquo;t get duped,&rdquo; Fucik said.</p><p>Chicago was noted in the study for its &ldquo;unusual seafood substitutions.&rdquo; In one case, a fish sold as Alaskan cod turned out to be the charmingly-named threadfin slickhead, a fish not even known to be sold in the U.S. And while most red snapper scams substitute rockfish and tilapia, two Chicago grocery stores were peddling the far less common goldbanded jobfish and slender pinjalo as red snapper.<br /><br />Sushi venues had the highest incidence of mislabeling at a whopping 74 percent, although the total number of sushi sellers surveyed was far less than restaurants or retailers. But in the 118 sushi outlets tested, 92 percent of the fish sold as snapper and 71 percent of the so-called tuna were mislabeled specimens of other fish.</p><p>Mislabeling can mean feeling ripped off, but it can also be dangerous for those with allergies and mislead shoppers trying to pick out sustainably harvested or low-mercury fish products. Oceana, the study&rsquo;s publisher, says seafood should be traceable, and argues that current laws for seafood inspection should be more stringently enforced.</p><p>For now, the implications for the consumer are cloudy. Fucik says the best way for the fish purchaser to get to know their product is to ask questions - but if you ask whether your sashimi is actually make with snapper, you&rsquo;ll almost definitely get a yes.</p><p>And taste tests are mostly a dead end, too. Even he can have trouble telling one filet from another in many cases of substitution, and he&rsquo;s been in the business for forty years.</p><p>People who want to stay on top of their fish-shopping game can do themselves a favor by favoring fresh fish markets that sell whole fish. And if you&rsquo;re trying to go upscale with your purchases, check out average prices and ask questions if a fish product seems to be cheaper than what it should be.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7043_036-scr.JPG" style="height: 518px; width: 690px;" title="Red snapper is red. (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" /></p><p>Finally, Fucik strongly recommended looking out for &ldquo;tuna&rdquo; that&rsquo;s white in color when it&rsquo;s raw; there&rsquo;s no such thing, he said, as actual &ldquo;white tuna&rdquo;.</p><p>The canned stuff has been cooked, but it used to be pink. If it&rsquo;s white and it&rsquo;s raw it could be escolar, also known as oilfish.</p><p>Escolar has a special effect on digestion that Fucik compares to the cleansing effects of <a href="http://ex-lax.com/" target="_blank">Ex-Lax</a>, and it&rsquo;s already banned in Japan and Italy for the gastrointestinal problems it can cause.</p><p>Next up in fish troubles: Frankenfish. (That&rsquo;s the derisive name for <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/genetically-modified-frankenfish-nears-fda-approval-debate-heats/story?id=18078157" target="_blank">genetically modified salmon</a> that&rsquo;s swimming closer to FDA approval as we speak.)</p><p>And in case you haven&rsquo;t had enough seafood malaise for the day, WBEZ&rsquo;s food blogger Louisa Chu will be with us soon to reflect on what her <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-08/waste-not-nose-tail-fin-101973" target="_blank">fishing trip in Alaska</a> taught her about the fish supply chain - and all the ways it can go wrong.</p><p>Follow <a href="https://twitter.com/LewisPants" target="_blank">Lewis Wallace on Twitter.</a></p></p> Thu, 21 Feb 2013 16:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/chicago-seafood-shoppers-duped-mislabeled-fish-105671 Tuna’s marketing masterpiece http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/tuna%E2%80%99s-marketing-masterpiece-104395 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/tuna%20flickr%20Genista_0.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Tuna: The what of the what? (Flickr/Genista)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F71268301" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Americans eat a lot of tuna.</p><p>In 2011 we ate 2.6 pounds of tuna per person, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. That&rsquo;s not much when compared to the amount of chicken we ate last year &ndash; 84.2 lbs. per capita according to the National Chicken Council &ndash; but it&rsquo;s more than clams, cod, crab and catfish combined, and more than any other fish except for shrimp. &nbsp;</p><p>Still, not only do we eat less tuna than say, chicken, we eat a lot less tuna than we used to; in 2000 Americans ate almost a pound more per capita. And according to author Andy Smith, &ldquo;There is no evidence that Americans consumed tuna prior to the 20th century.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;That shocked me,&rdquo; said Smith, a noted food writer whose books include histories of the hamburger, the potato and popcorn. &ldquo;And I wanted to know why.&rdquo;</p><p>Smith&rsquo;s curiosity led to another book, <em>American Tuna: The Rise and Fall of an Improbable Fish</em>. In it he traces tuna&rsquo;s U.S. origins to California canneries in 1903. Then, tuna was a niche product. You might have tasted it if you were an Italian immigrant with a more rarified palate, Smith said. But the oily fish tasted funny and was otherwise unfamiliar to most Americans.</p><p>So how is it that within five years tuna went from an unknown player to, as Smith put it, &ldquo;one of America&rsquo;s most important sea foods?&rdquo;</p><p>Smith said that World War I played a big part. Beef was scarce, so civilians turned to canned foods, and the U.S. government bought tuna to feed the troops. It made its way to our allies in Britain and France via ships passing through the Panama Canal.</p><p>But that&rsquo;s not all: According to Smith, the tuna industry in America launched a PR campaign so brilliant and so ubiquitous, you may not even know it was once a catchy advertising slogan. (No, I don&rsquo;t mean last year&rsquo;s limpid <a href="http://www.seafoodsource.com/newsarticledetail.aspx?id=9799">&ldquo;Tuna the Wonderfish!&rdquo; campaign</a>.) &nbsp;</p><p>Hear Smith describe the brilliant marketing move that made tuna a routine part of our casseroles in the audio above.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a></em>&nbsp;<em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Andy Smith spoke at an event presented by Culinary Historians of Chicago in November. Click</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/american-tuna%E2%80%A6-and-drinking-doubleheader-104008">here</a></em>&nbsp;<em>to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Sat, 15 Dec 2012 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/tuna%E2%80%99s-marketing-masterpiece-104395 I made tuna tartar & avocado, and so can you http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-05-04/i-made-tuna-tartar-avocado-and-so-can-you-86033 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-May/2011-05-03/tuna-avocado.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="340" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-03/tuna.jpg" title="tuna tartar &amp; avocado...from my kitchen (photo: Steve Dolinsky)" width="450"></p><p>Like pork belly anything or beet salads embedded with goat cheese, a dish of tuna tartar with fresh avocado seems to be <em>de rigueur</em> these days. <a href="http://bistronomic.net/">Bistronomic</a> serves one in a glass jar; it's one of the most popular dishes at <a href="http://www.bltsteak.com/">BLT Steak</a> in New York, and of course, every sushi bar in the country offers this combo embedded within a tube of rice and calls it a tuna roll (tekka maki). In Chicago, I think credit has to go to Yoshi Katsumura, chef/owner of his eponymous <a href="http://www.yoshiscafe.com/yoshiscafe_v2/index.php">Yoshi's Cafe</a> in Boystown, where he's had some form of tuna with avocado on his menu for more than 20 years. When it's presented like that picture above, you can't help but be wowed. My kids sure were.&nbsp;Yet this dish couldn't be easier to make at home. I should know. I've made it for dinner the last two nights, just to see if my skills were up-to-snuff. Look out Martial Noguier.&nbsp;</p><p>I started at <a href="http://www.isaacsonandsteinfishcompany.com/Default.aspx">Isaacson &amp; Stein Fish Market</a> in the West Loop, where I picked up some Hawaiian big eye tuna for $16.95/pound (much less than what I paid at Fox &amp; Obel on Sunday, but one is retail, the other wholesale). I still had some big, creamy Mexican avocados I bought at the Maxwell Market just over a week ago. Everything else I had on hand: some mirin (rice vinegar), a little low sodium soy sauce, olive oil, kosher salt. That's it. My secret weapon? A used can of tomato sauce:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="424" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-03/can.jpg" title="my secret weapon (photo: Steve Dolinsky)" width="450"></p><p>I've seen chefs use pvc tubes from Home Depot (they're not as high, and the insides are smooth) but this can worked just fine. I split the avocado, removed the seed, then cut a grid with a sharp knife into one of the halves. I simply scooped out those resulting cubes into the bottom of the can, which was already sitting on my plate, pressing them down into the sides, and keeping an even top layer. Then I diced up the tuna, making sure to use only the deep, magenta-colored flesh, rather than the white streaks of fat; I then tossed those cubes with a small amount of mirin, the soy and olive oil, seasoning it with salt and giving it a quick stir. I experimented with a bit of fresh lime juice last night, but served it immediately, as I didn't want it turning color, a la ceviche. I guess you could also toss in some finely-chopped chives or maybe a little fresh cilantro. Totally up to you.</p><p>I spooned the seasoned tuna onto the avocado, again, pressing it down with the back of a spoon to even it out and press it firmly against the sides of the can. I sprinkled just a bit more kosher salt on the top. Then, the Big Reveal: I simply lifted up the can, and voila! A tuna and avocado dish worthy of any two (three?) star restaurant in town, for about a third of the price.&nbsp;</p><p>If you think this is impressive, wait until you see what I can do on a grill in front of a live audience. Three courses in 30 minutes, all on the grill, at the Better Homes &amp; Gardens <a href="http://www.bhgchillandgrill.com/home/schedule-events-calendar.php">Chill &amp; Grill event in Lincoln Park </a>on Sunday, May 22nd. Hope to see you then.</p></p> Wed, 04 May 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-05-04/i-made-tuna-tartar-avocado-and-so-can-you-86033 Something You Should Eat: Tuna tartar from Bistronomic http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-29/something-you-should-eat-tuna-tartar-bistronomic-83979 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/21241052?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;color=c40215" frameborder="0" height="281" width="500"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: left;">Martial Noguier never quite settled into his previous assignments. At <a href="http://www.onesixtyblue.com/">one sixtyblue</a>, his cooking would veer into French territory, but the fact diners were there for Michael Jordan's connection as much as anything, probably limited his creativity. At <a href="http://www.cafedesarchitectes.com/">Café des Architectes</a>, inside the Hotel Sofitel, he explored his roots a bit more, but still, he was a hotel chef, succumbing to the whims of business travelers and chopped salad lunch-goers looking to get in and out in about an hour.</p><p style="text-align: left;">At <a href="http://bistronomic.net/">Bistronomic</a> - a stone's throw south of the Sofitel - Noguier seems more at home than he ever has been. There are <em>terrines</em> and <em>patés</em>, of course, but also Lake Superior whitefish over French lentils and a seriously good tartar, made with tuna, rather than the more traditional (and fashionable) beef. Arriving in a glass jar, topped with lemony-scented avocado, it's a fabulous way to wake up your mouth as you get ready for the really serious stuff.</p></p> Tue, 29 Mar 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-29/something-you-should-eat-tuna-tartar-bistronomic-83979