'Troll-Caught' Albacore is available year-round. Fresh market forms can be purchased during the summer/early fall months (late June through October) when the annual harvest along the Oregon coast occurs. Frozen market forms are available throughout the year.
Whole (round) fish – size range: 9 to 25 lbs (4.1-11.3 kg) Yield: 50% approx. (Loining Guide Click here)
Fresh: typically bled; held on ice and landed within a few days of harvest.
Brine frozen (at sea): may be bled; typically destined for the “cannery market” or for export.
Blast/air frozen (at sea): mostly bled; used for “value added” and “sashimi-grade” products.
Loins – long, wedge-shaped portion, hand or machine-cut lengthwise from the whole fish; trimmed of all dark meat; usually sold skinless; vacuum packed. Size: 1.5 to 2.5 lbs.
Steaks or “medallions” - cross cut sections of the loin; trimmed and skinless; vacuum packed. Random sizes (5-8oz approx.)
Custom Canned – chunked meat from high quality fish, hand packed in a variety of can sizes - 3.5 oz to 4 lb (99g to1.8 kg); no water or oil added, flavor added also available.
QUALITY SPEC'S: Fresh whole fish should be free of bruises, soft spots and tears in the skin. There should be no unpleasant odor. Frozen fish should be uniformly hard, with rounded bodies absent of flat spots/indentations. Evidence of “bleeding” such as a cut in the gill plate/throat latch area should be apparent on whole fish. (Properly bled fish will produce a lighter-colored, milder-tasting loin.) Cut products should be moist, free of strong odor and show no signs of browning around the edges, a sign of rancidity. (See the 'Whole Fish Story' Click here)
THAWING/PRODUCT HANDLING: As with all seafood, thawing should be done slowly, under refrigeration. Frozen round fish cut better when the flesh is still firm due to ice crystals. Fresh product should stored at 32ºF; frozen at 0ºF or below.
FLAVOR/TEXTURE PROFILE: Albacore has a mild tasting flavor and firm-when-cooked texture. The flesh is light beige to pink in color and turns near-white when cooked. Uncooked loins tend to be soft and should be handled carefully to avoid flesh separation.
COOKING/SERVING TIPS: Albacore lends itself to a variety of preparation methods. Loins and steaks can be marinated in a tangy soy, citrus or fruit-based sauce and grilled on the barbeque; seared stovetop with olive oil and garlic; broiled with a simple butter and fresh herb baste; or, served raw, sashimi style. Avoid overcooking. Cook medium-rare (to an internal temperature of 140º), removing from heat while still pink in the center.
'A Quality Guide for Off-the-Dock Purchasers'
K. S. Hilderbrand, Jr./Oregon Sea Grant Click here