**warning** this post shows the dismemberment of some really fresh tuna, step by step. there is blood. you might not want to look at it. but i sure do!
Recently I spent the morning in the tiny kitchen of a nearby port town restaurant. It was great, for its glimpse into the (relatively calm, I must say) world of a typical Basque restaurant kitchen. It was quite a different vibe than the one I used to get in my old kitchen. Rightfully so, as the restaurant itself was much smaller and owned by the main chef.
Where we used to get a small truck arrive, with a hefty, very Southern man who would bring us some fish his company had caught about three hours south, this restaurant has an old Basque man come in every day with the fish HE has caught. It's always different, depending on the day, and he always has a story to tell about it.
The man who brought the tuna in on this day also broke it down for us. With style. First, off with the head. And tuna, this white tuna called bonito, is quite the bloody blue fish.
After considerable amounts of blood were drained into the sink, guts were removed and we got a close up of its tiny heart.
Then, the skin came off in one clean swipe/peeling motion.
Then a ripping and carving of the loin.
Blood dripping, fins snipped off, it was a sight to behold. A lesson that wiped the brillo right off of the romantic notion of chef as artist, daintily breaking down an animal carcass, replacing it with a dichotomy of man, sea, and man knowing all about and exactly what to do with animal he pulls from said sea.