Bonito of the North, the King of Summer
Juan M Crujeiras
From the kitchen of the restaurant the seasons are not so clear, the end of summer does not become autumn in such a definite way, winter seems to find it difficult to make way for spring, and that puzzles us cooks, creates some anxiety , eager for that transition time between the four seasons to pass as soon as possible and thus give ourselves with enthusiasm, joy and enthusiasm to the products of the new season.
Sometimes we even feel sorry that time passes so quickly, and products from that time come to an end until next year.
The seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter are special for each chef, each one has their favorites, I suppose that, among many reasons, their way of cooking or the place, region or country where they live influences.
Summer, for me, is a time of the most grateful, Galicia offers us great products, which tell us about absolute seasonality, blue fish, tomatoes, strawberries, Herbón peppers, zucchini in flower, peaches, green beans, fresh beans … A personal preparation is the green beans with potatoes, boiled eggs and tomato sauce that my mother always prepares, that is summer on the palate, seasonality in memory, something that we should never lose.
What I am clear about is that it is wonderful that we continue to have totally seasonal products, those that only in their time are more abundant, richer, cheaper, that speak to us about the territory and the time of year in which we are.
As these lines are written, the Bonito of the Norte (Thunnus Alalunga) and their season are coming to an end and they say goodbye until next year.
The Galicians, Asturians, Cantabrians and Basques are great and respectful fishermen of bonito and of course as diners we value it very much.
Many colleagues from the guild celebrate when the first bonitos start to arrive on the market at the beginning of summer and each one has their own seasonal recipe to offer their customers.
It is a healthy fish, with an exquisite flavor, smooth texture and a beautiful pink color. From 4 to 10 kg is the weight of the pieces that we usually receive in the restaurant. We cut it up in head, belly and four loins.
We prepare the belly whole on the grill, the head before using it to make a broth we remove all the meat, as well as the loins, which this summer we prepare on the grill, accompanied by Herbón peppers (another seasonal product) and roasted and smoked eggplant.
When we remove the spike, meat remains between the central spines and, if we scrape it with a spoon and simply add a good extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper, we obtain an exquisite tartare along with the meat removed from the head, and then we make a broth with the roasted bones in the oven, which we enrich with sherry wine. With all this, we are faced with a product where the use is absolute, the cuisine is close, seasonal, sustainable and very own.
Grilled, stewed, sautéed, raw, marinated … the bonito is very versatile and it is grateful that in cooking we do not overdo it, always a little more raw than cooked.
If you want us to help you with a recipe or advice on how to cook bonito, write us.