TITIS, ALONG WITH THREE OTHER SPANISHmade
boats join a fleet that now numbers twenty. Together they make up the largest privately owned flotilla in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. They belong to the Pinsa Group of Mazatlán, which fish (mostly) yellowfin and take the catch from ocean-to-tin-to-shelf in one enormous, self-sufficient operation.
I knew about shrimp. The Sinaloa state boasts the biggest shrimping fleet on the Pacific coast. Local Mazatlán markets bulge with blue buckets of the beauties, and restaurant menus — from the 52-year-old El Shrimp Bucket to the spanking new Mazatleca — devote pages to their preparation. But about Mazatlán’s tuna I had no clue.
After touring the Pinsa operation, I found myself drawn to every tuna dish on every menu handed me. Tuna sashimi and tataki. Tuna ceviche, burritos, burgers. Tuna-topped guacamole. And at the new beachside restaurant La Mazatleca — where chef Alan Zamudio Robles takes traditional Mexican dishes for thoroughly modern spins — my favourite preparation was a loin of tuna Robles had bathed in the local Presidio beer mixed with ‘fermented tortilla juice.’ It’s properly called Tejuino, an ancient spirit and an acquired taste. Corn masa, essentially (the dough you’d ordinarily pinch off, flatten, fry and stuff) but here mixed with water and raw brown sugar, boiled until thick and dark and gooey, then left to ferment. I would suggest the beer tamed the taste of the Tejuino, but the effect on the tuna was quite splendid, particularly when finished with a rich butter sauce.