Where to Buy fresh Tuna in NJ
I live in Central NJ. I want to make a spicy fish pickle. My options are (1) Tuna, (2) King Fish (3) Tilapia. Unlike Kerala, my home state in India, in the US Tuna is extremely expensive. I want to know from what is my best option to buy some good quality tuna at a reasonable price in NJ-NYC region. I would not mind the grade of Tuna, as long as it is fresh.
Fresh tuna is rare. You are on the east coast?, I believe tuna season on the east coast is in the late summer/early fall. Tuna migrate up the east coast of the US, following warm water and food.
Due to the value of tuna and the distances boats must travel after catching tuna, it is usually frozen (and often processed and frozen) at sea. Most of the tuna landed is frozen.
This time of year, expect to buy tuna processed in the Philipines, frozen in 8-16 oz vacuum packages. Your retailer may removed the fish from the package and defrost it.
FWIW, there is nothing wrong with properly frozen fish.
Thanks for all the info. So in East Coast the best bet for this time of the year is frozen Tuna sold at Mitsuwa (I know the place,I used to live near EW, never went to this shop thogh, Hanaurheum used to be my one stop shop for everything fishy), TJ (There is one in Westfield, very close to my place) or Costco. I will try these.
Any opinion on the likes of Boston Fish Market in the Staten Island?, Very close for me.
"So in East Coast the best bet for this time of the year is frozen Tuna sold at Mitsuwa" I would say no, especially if you want a reasonable price. Expect to pay $25/lb at Mitsuwa. You will get the best looking tuna from Mitsuwa.
Many of my local supermarkets sell vacuum packed, frozen/defrosted yellowfin tuna loin steaks. On sale at Albertson's (large chain) for ~$8/lb, regular price at Lunardis (small 6 store chain) is ~$14/lb.
I have fished tuna commercially, on one trip, we had a buyer on board. He recommended aging bluefin tuna for 5 days. We did an "experiment", we cut up a bluefin, eating some each day. The fibers in the fish started to relax after ~3 days and days 5-6 were the best, both texture and taste, we ran out of fish after day 6.
I think people have the wrong impression about "fresh" seafood, probably caused by poor handling by the retailer. "All" of us like aged beef, tuna seems to be the same (to me).
The Zuni cookbook has a short story about "old" fish. "put some salt on it and it will be better" "Old" fish is different than spoiled fish.
Tuna have four loins, two from the top and two from the bottom. Draw a circle and put a + inside the circle. That is an approximation of the location of the four loins.
The loins with the least amount of sinew are the two top loins. I do not know if the processors sort/sell by loin location or if is "luck of the draw".
High end sashimi/sushi will be from the top loins (or belly aka toro).
Trader Joe's sells tuna steaks frozen. From someone who's favorite fish is tuna, I must say that they are usually really good despite being frozen. Whole Foods sells good fresh tuna, but they can be expensive. I'm not sure if you have a trader joe's near you, but im in northern NJ and the TJ in Florham Park usually has them. I have also gotten fresh tuna steaks on occasion at Costco in East Hanover. They don't always have them, but if they do, they are usually great!