The Craft Behind The "Ronqueo"
As soon as you see a bluefin tuna, you realize that it is a special fish. Its size is impressive, the color of its flesh is a deep red (more like the color of beef than fish). Seeing how it is dismantled is an experience and an art. This show is called ronqueo. The name comes from the curious sound that the knife makes when touching the backbone of the fish, a sound very similar to a snore.
The ronqueo is done manually and has a lot of ritual, it takes time to learn to do it correctly since you have to be very methodical and skilled with the knife. Clean and straight cuts are sought to make the most of the meat that can be extracted from tuna. The bluefin tuna is one of the jewels of gastronomy and as in everything that is appreciated, appearances and details are important. Doing it wrong means that the snoring pieces are not as appetizing and could be rejected by the customer.
In JC Mackintosh we let the tuna rest in slush pools between 24 and 36 hours, depending on the size of the tuna, before snoring it so that its temperature falls between 2ºC and 5ºC in the backbone to avoid the rigidity of the meat. Then we cut his tail, fins and head. Once done the preliminaries we went to the ronqueo. The variety of cuts is very wide, through this process the noble parts and internal parts of the bluefin tuna are separated.
Noble parts are composed of:
Sirloin: Top of the loin and with less fat content.
Loin: Wide and clean piece of fat.
Black tail: Top back part of the tuna.
White tail: Lower back part.
Tarantelo: Triangular piece stuck to the stomach low towards the tail of the tuna. It is one of the best parts. It is used for stews as well as for sashimi or tataki. It's halfway between lean and fat.
Ventresca: It is the most fat part of the tuna.
Internal parts are:
Mormo: It is the final tip of the spine that is inserted in the head. One of the most appreciated parts of bluefin tuna.
Morrillo: About the mormos and is very fat and appreciated, also known as cogote.
Parpatana: Bone that joins the head with the rest of the body. The meat that remains between the bones due to its high fat content is very appreciated.
Roe: The tuna ova (each female has two sacks of roe).
Liver: It is usually consumed grilled.
The remains of meat that remain attached to the spine are removed with a spoon and that give place to what is perhaps the most succulent snack of the animal: the crumbs.