Does gourmet tuna taste any different?

Panel says yes, but it may not matter

March 12, 2003|By LIZ ATWOOD

So is a $15 can of gourmet tuna really better than a $1.89 can of Bumblebee?

We asked a panel of food experts: C.J. Gabrielson, sous-chef at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant; Nick Hoang, corporate sushi chef for Red Coral restaurant; Elizabeth Large, The Sun's restaurant critic; and Rob Kasper, The Sun's food columnist.

They sampled Conservas Alegria bonita tuna in olive oil from Dean & Deluca, Dave's albacore tuna in olive oil from Whole Foods Market, Ortiz bonito tuna in olive oil from Zingerman's and Bumblebee's albacore tuna in oil.

The verdict: it depends on what you want to do with the tuna.

Gabrielson said Dave's tuna, which had a firmer texture than the others, would hold up well on a sandwich.

Hoang said he would like to make a sauce with the fishy-tasting Ortiz tuna. Kasper described the Ortiz tuna as having the most "adult" favor.

All of our tasters preferred the Conservas Alegria as the tuna they would most like to eat straight from the can.

But for a casserole or even a tuna-salad sandwich, they agreed Bumblebee will suit just fine.

"I would never make a sandwich out of anything but regular old tuna," Large said.

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