What Sets Italian Canned Tuna Apart From All Others

Canned tuna is often thought of as a fail safe. It sits in the pantry waiting for a night when you need a quick snack or a meal to get tossed onto a salad, or dressed in rich mayonnaise. There are higher quality tunas out in the world though that demand something more. These higher-quality options are good enough to be enjoyed fresh from the can, or with a simple piece of toasted bread. According to The Yummy Bazaar, the best of these canned tunas come from Italy.

As a peninsula in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, Italy has always been a thriving market for fishing. Sicily, the island off the tip of Italy's "boot," also has a unique relationship with tuna fishing. Italy Magazine reports that the largest tuna processing center in the Mediterranean used to be on the Sicilian island of Favignana. It was there that the revolutionary method of preserving tuna in olive oil was first introduced.

Italian tuna is marinated in high quality olive oil for months

Besides having high quality tuna harvests, Italy has also excelled because of its unique processing methods, asĀ Yummy Bazaar notes. After the large fish are caught and cooked, their meat is then marinated in high-quality olive oil for up to two months. This unique method helps to preserve and enhance the fish's flavor by adding the additional fats. Tuna in water can taste like it's had the flavor turned down by its simple marinade, but tuna in oil tastes even more delicate, and closer to the original flavor than some tuna steaks can.

The Kitchen Professor notes that opting for tuna preserved in olive oil does add additional fats and calories that may be less appealing to some. It recommends the Tonnino brand tuna filets packed in spring water for those looking for a 'lighter' flavor while still getting Italy's superior quality tuna.

Another advantage of Italian tuna is that it is often lower in mercury. Albacore tuna is a species that is known to often have the highest mercury content. According to Yummy Bazaar, Italian tuna makers rarely use this species in their canned tuna, and tend to choose younger tuna that have lower mercury contents. This makes Italian tuna a great option for those worried about their mercury intake as well.