How to Clean & Cook Fresh Tuna


Fresh tuna is a delightful fish and easy to clean and to prepare in any number of different and tasty ways. The cleaning is the most difficult and messy part but even if you make a slip, you can be sure a nick or two will not affect the flavor. Just make sure you clean everything out of the inside of the fish for health and taste reasons.

Things You'll Need

  • One fresh whole tuna
  • Running water
  • Sharp fillet knife
  • Metal spoon
  • Butcher paper or newspaper
  • Plastic bag

Cleaning a Tuna

  • Wash the fish under cold running water. Use the dull side of the fillet knife to scrape off the scales in a backward motion from tail to head, still under running water. You also can use a fish scaler, but it is really not necessary.

  • Turn the fish on its back over several sheets of newspaper and make a shallow cut on the belly all the way from head to tail. Avoid cutting into the intestines. After you make the cut, pull the cavity open so you can see the insides of the fish.

  • Grab the fish by the mouth and reach into the gills. You will feel two gill holes. Stick your forefinger and thumb in the holes and grasp firmly. Now, yank down hard and the whole entrails will come out in one piece.

  • Rinse the fish, inside and out, under running water. Use the spoon to get out any guts that you might accidentally have left inside. Cut the fins off and refrigerate the fish or put it on ice with cavity side down. Wrap the guts in the newspaper and seal inside a plastic bag to avoid a smelly mess.

  • Use a very sharp knife to cut the tuna into steaks about an inch thick for grilling, broiling, pan frying or barbecuing. Season or marinate to taste and then cook about three minutes on each side or until still pink in the middle. Tuna is a fish best served medium to medium rare.

  • Stuff a whole tuna with crab or shrimp and place on a bed of sliced onions, carrots and potatoes. Drizzle the fish with sesame or olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes for every two inches of thickness of the fish. Use your favorite seasonings and vegetables to create a complete meal.
    A southern Italian favorite is to pack the tuna in a mixture of sea salt and egg and bake until the salt crust turns hard. You might want to practice this on a smaller fish before springing for a whole tuna, but it is a delicious cooking method for any fish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure that no innards remain in your cleaned fish in order to prevent illness.

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