DIY: Flaking Tuna

By Sarah Vrba

All fully cooked fish flakes. Unlike other proteins, tuna flesh has little connective tissue, so it separates along its natural seems effortlessly. Any variety of tuna steak -- yellowfin, albacore and bluefin, for example -- work in any flaked preparation. Canned tuna undergoes high-pressure cooking that heats the flesh at around 250 degrees Fahrenheit, which alters its texture. Bulk tuna, or canned varieties that don't have a species on the label, cooked at that temperature tends to mash and tear instead of flake. For flaked canned tuna, use a quality white-albacore variety for meaty chunks that have a firm texture.

Tuna Salad
credit: zeleno/iStock/Getty Images
Rinse and dry canned tuna before adding it to a dish to control the saltiness.

Step 1

Cook the tuna steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 F and the flesh is opaque throughout. You can use any cooking method; steaming, pan-frying and roasting all work.

Step 2

Let the tuna cool for a few minutes. Place the tuna steak in the center of a large plate or platter.

Step 3

Insert two dinner forks in the steak and gently twist them to separate the flesh. The tuna will separate into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks; pull the chunks apart using the forks to break them down to the desired size.

Canned

Step 4

Drain the canned tuna in a colander. If you want to rinse the salty brine off, run cold water over it for a few seconds and let it drain.

Step 5

Transfer the tuna to a bowl or platter. Separate the tuna it chunks with your fingers; it will come apart with little effort.

Step 6

Continue pulling the chunks apart until they reach the desired size. Pat the tuna with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture, if desired.