What’s the difference between the delicately sliced rare ahi tuna you are served in a restaurant and the “chicken of the sea” tuna from a can? Well, a lot.
For one, the grayish brown canned tuna, and the tuna steak you enjoy at a restaurant are two different species of tuna fish
. The name ahi comes from the Hawaiian ahi
, and refers to the species that is otherwise known as yellowtail tuna
. If you are going to sear a tuna steak, chances are you are going to use high-quality tuna steaks (usually from yellowtail, bigeye, or bluefin tunas). On the other hand, if you are looking for something to mix with mayonnaise and chopped celery for sandwiches
, then canned skipjack (the oft mushy, fishy- tasting cousin of true tuna) or albacore
(also referred to as “white meat” tuna) is what you are eating.
The next glaring difference between the two is how they are cooked. You wouldn’t pay the high price of tuna, which typically costs upwards of $20 per pound, to then boil it within an inch of its life; but, that is exactly how canned tuna is manufactured. Canned tuna also uses more than just the meat from “steaks.” Bits and pieces from the whole tuna are salvaged to make the flaky tuna in a can.
So, while both have their place in our stomachs, Ahi tuna and tuna in a can couldn’t be further apart on the socio-economic scale of fish we eat for lunch and dinner.