Saturday, March 29, 2008

March (Mojama) Madness

The latest treat from Chris's curing talents is muy, muy buena. He's cured a plump tuna loin in sea salt, citrus zest, and coriander for a Spanish-style mojama that's putting us on the giddy side of March madness.

The recipe and method for this cured fish began to develop centuries ago when the Phoenicians and Moors were heading toward the part of the Mediterranean that became Spain. It's name is derived from the Arabic word for "dry."

On one side of the loin, the rich fish deepens to a small, purplish-black cloud. While American sushi chefs tend to remove this darker portion, Japanese chefs leave the loin intact with the "bloodline" as diners prize this cut for the additional layers of flavor and texture that it lends to the fish.

Today, Spaniards serve mojama before a meal among tapas. Thinly sliced and drizzled with a bit of olive oil, the crimson, transparent petals of tuna swim well with the crisp bubbles of Avinyo cava, a brut Spanish sparkling wine from the Goose's cellar.

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