Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Looking at a photo of a tucunaré it's easy to see where the peacock part of the English name comes from. It's not from the color, for the fish isn't blue or green. It's from a large eye-like circle on the tail of the fish which looks rather like the similar forms on a peacock tail.
here for one lodge's website).
Fortunately, tucunaré, fierce though they are, are not large enough to dine on humans, and in the human-tucunaré relationship, it's humans who are the predators. Tucunaré are very good eating fish, with firm white flesh and without many bones. They have been an important food source for millennia in the Amazon, and today are served not only in the simple riverside homes of native populations, but in sophisticated restaurants in the large cities of the rain forest, like Manaus or Belém, and further afield in places like Rio de Janeiro or Brasília. The flavor of has been likened to that of grouper or snapper, and because grows to somewhere between 1-3 feet (30 - 100 cm) in length, it can be cooked in any way suitable to either of those species.
In upcoming posts, Flavors of Brazil will feature recipes for tucunaré.