Every summer, bluefin tuna migrate through the Mediterranean Sea. To make the most of this brief window, seafood chefs on the Italian island of Sardinia use every part of the animal they call tonno rosso, including its heart.
To prepare cuore di tonno, Sardinians salt and press the heart under weights for twenty days, then leave it to air-dry. After the curing process, the organ will be rock hard and extremely briny. Its ocean-heavy odor might even recall the bilge of a ship.
Cuore di tonno packs a flavorful punch. Just a few shavings will add a salty, savory, ferric tang to soups, sauces, and pasta dishes. The grated heart has a texture reminiscent of another shaved-fish topping: Japanese bonito flakes.
For those who seek larger portions of tuna heart, many restaurants also serve it sliced, with lemon and olive oil.
Need to Know
The town of Carloforte, on the tiny island of San Pietro off Sardinia's southwest coast, is particularly renown for its tuna offal, including cured hearts and roe (bottarga).
Where to Try It
Cockscomb Restaurant564 4th St, San Francisco, California, 94107, United States
This seafood restaurant serves up spaghetti with egg yolk and shavings of tuna heart.
Al Tonno di CorsaVia Marconi, 47, Carloforte, 09014, Italy
Their menu revolves around tuna, including bottarga and tuna heart salad.