Catch of the day
ACANNED favourite, tuna is difficult to assess health-wise. Fresh, it has plenty of healthy omega fatty acids, but cooked and canned, the processing leaves it with far less and about half the amount of vitamin D. Still, there are other benefits such as potassium and iron, but oily fish stores mercury in its fat so keep away from it if pregnant and if not, keep consumption to a few times a week.
About 26% protein in tuna means we can expect it to sustain us until our next meal. Use tuna with olives, cooked new potatoes, anchovies, tomatoes, and hardboiled eggs for a classic Nicoise salad. Add lettuce — local, Cos or Baby Gem — to complete the colour and nutritional variety.
It can be difficult to track sustainability from the labelling. ‘Line-caught’ suggests that fishing does not involve catching other smaller species and avoids overfishing. However, nets can be used at the same time, and multiple lines offer little protection.
Look for fish that has been caught in relatively clean Irish waters during a limited six-week period each year. Vacuum packed and frozen, or canned, usually in Spain, it is now possible to find Irish tuna all year.
Albacore and skipjack seem to be the least endangered species, yellowfin less so, while bluefin is the most at risk of overfishing. Buying Irish means we have some contact with producers we can trust.