Would you like to cook a simple, healthy and very tasty dish? Then you have to try this oven-baked bonito belly. Bonito is a highly appreciated fish for its firm and flavourful flesh and its versatility, as it can be prepared in many different ways. Cooking bonito belly is very easy with this step-by-step recipe and the tips we’ll show you.
Ingredients for preparing oven-baked bonito belly
- 2 fresh pieces of bonito belly
- 5 large potatoes
- 3 garlic cloves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 150 millilitres of white wine
- Fresh parsley
- 1 bay leaf
How to cook oven-baked bonito belly
Bonito belly, also known as “ijada” is considered a premium cut and is highly valued for its flavour and soft, delicate texture. Thanks to its higher fat content compared to other parts of the tuna, it remains very juicy and is particularly well-suited for baking.
This fish cut has a triangular shape and is obtained by slicing the fish longitudinally, just below the waterline, where the abdomen is located.
We’re going to prepare oven-baked bonito belly with potatoes as a side dish, just like they do in the finest seafood restaurants. The key to perfecting this oven-baked tuna belly dish is achieving the right cooking point of the fish. We’ll explain how to do it step by step.
Make a herb paste
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. In a mortar, or with a blender, prepare a paste with peeled garlic cloves, a generous splash of extra virgin olive oil, white wine, parsley leaves, and salt.
Since bonito has firm and flavourful flesh, we recommend using a dry white wine with good acidity and fruity notes for cooking. Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc, or Albariño are ideal choices to pair with bonito.
Slice the potatoes
Cut the potatoes into slices approximately one centimetre thick. Arrange them as a layer in an oven tray previously greased with a bit of olive oil. Cover the potatoes with the paste. Bake for 25 minutes with both upper and lower heat.
Add the bonito
Carefully, without burning yourself, place the open and seasoned bonito belly pieces on top of the potatoes. Bake everything together for 10 to 15 minutes. Depending on the thickness of the bonito belly pieces, the cooking time may be slightly longer.
How do I know if the oven-baked tuna belly is done?
The oven-baked bonito belly should have a golden and crispy appearance on the outside and a soft, juicy texture on the inside.
If you have a meat thermometer, you can use it with the tuna. The tuna belly should reach an internal temperature of at least 60 degrees Celsius to be cooked.
Another foolproof technique is to insert a fork into the tuna belly and gently pull upward. If the flesh easily separates from the bone, it’s a sign that the tuna is ready.
Ideas for accompanying the bonito belly
In addition to the potato side dish, you can complement your meal with other tasty options.
A green salad will bring freshness. Try this simple mix: rocket, lamb’s lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes, and pumpkin seeds. Dress it with extra virgin olive oil, such as the Hojiblanca or Lucio variety, and enjoy.
Some roasted and confit red peppers with garlic is another flavour combination that pairs well with tuna.
Grilled green asparagus will add a crunchy touch, and its flavour is ideal for complementing oily fish like bonito.
What wine goes well with bonito?
If you plan to pair this dish with wine, we suggest several options. Since bonito is a robust fish, it pais well with wines that have body and aromatic strength.
If you prefer white wines, choose a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Verdejo.
A fruity rosé with a good level of acidity will balance the fatty and flavourful aspect of the tuna belly.
A red wine with some oak influence from grape varieties like Tempranillo or Merlot are good options to enjoy with bonito.
For a more unique choice, consider a brut nature cava.
It’s best to avoid wines that are too delicate or fruity, as they might be overshadowed by the fish’s flavour. In general, it’s better to select wines with body and flavour to pair with tuna and fully savour its taste.
Bonito is a healthy and delicious choice to include in your diet since it’s rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s important to ensure that the tuna belly you purchase is fresh to fully appreciate all of its organoleptic properties.
Now you know how to cook oven-baked tuna belly. But if you’d like to try the best fish right off the market, cooked to perfection, you’ll find a great variety of fresh fish on our “Chao Pescao” menu for our chefs to prepare to your liking.
We await your visit!