A great way to use up the trimmings after breaking down a tuna is this ’nduja recipe. Unlike the traditional meat-based version, this doesn’t require any form of fermentation. Instead, it’s very quick to make and the results are absolutely delicious served up on toast like this or as an addition to pasta or vegetable-based dishes. The easiest way to cook the ’nduja is by frying it in a little oil – separating out the fat (which you can use for grilled veg) and transforming the texture into a fine mince.
To make the ’nduja spice mix, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Pass the trimmed tuna through a meat grinder on a coarse setting (or chop into a coarse mince consistency with a sharp knife). Transfer to a large bowl, add the spice mix, grated garlic, rendered fish fat and a pinch of salt, and stir gently to combine, being careful not to overwork it. Set aside.
Brush both sides of the bread slices with extra-virgin olive oil, taking it right to the edges.
Heat a chargrill pan over a medium heat, add the sourdough slices (in batches if necessary) and grill for two to three minutes each side, or until very well toasted with nice char lines. Remove from the pan and rub with the halved garlic clove, then transfer to individual serving plates.
Pile a heaped tablespoon of the ’nduja onto each slice of hot toast and drizzle with two teaspoons olive oil. Using a fork, drag the tips through the ’nduja, working from left to right to create even ridges for the oil and seasoning to settle into. Season liberally with salt flakes and black pepper and serve immediately. Store any leftover ’nduja in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
Rendered Fish Fat: When I refer to the fat, I am talking about the visceral fat that surrounds the fish organs. It resembles chicken or duck fat and can be simply removed by peeling it away from the cavity of the fish. Fish that I have personally worked with that carry this type of fat are Murray cod, kingfish, groper and fattier snappers. Try to use fish that are white fleshed, and when the fat is rendered, strained and cooled, be sure to taste it to check that it has no acidity or imperfections.
Place the fish fat in a saucepan and gently render over a low heat; it should take about 10 minutes for it to liquefy. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove any impurities. Pour into airtight containers and cool, then store in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to two months.
Recipes excerpted with permission Take One Fish by Josh Niland published by Hardie Grant Books, August 2021 (Preorder on Amazon).
Photographed by Rob Palmer