Tuna Muxama

The muxama is a product made with the same recipe that Phoenicians and Romans did two thousand years ago. The term comes from the Arabic musama, which means "dry", and already in the Islamic period this tuna preparation method would be widely used, and was bequeathed to the subsequent Christian period.

The muxamaresults of an old fish processing mode using the tuna loins that are passed by rock salt and then washed to remove excess salt; thus consisting of the salting and subsequent drying of the noble tuna pieces in controlled atmosphere and temperature. A kind of ham from the sea.

Currently this process is already done in a controlled manner, following the guidelines that the law requires, and in the past was done in the traditional way by salting and subsequent placement of the fish in the sun during the hot period.

The present process comprises placing tuna loins in large containers which are replenished with salt, over a period of 24 hours. After this first stage, they are removed and washed well, passing then into a drying chamber in a controlled environment with a relative humidity of 60% and a constant temperature of 14ºC. Drying should be perfectly homogenous and as also serve to slightly reduce the percentage of salt as a result of that environment. Depending on the thickness of the loins, at the end of 10 or 12 days, will be muxama ready to be consumed, winning looks like the ham made from pork.

Own the lower classes, this product is often used to accompany the bread, especially during periods of increased food shortages. Saved throughout the year was consumed in work jornas mainly by fishermen.
Today, in Baixo Guadiana region, only a factory continues to produce this delicacy ((Sociedade Pescas Pelágicas:  281 109 946; sppelagicas@sapo.pt) ), handcrafted way, but controlling its procedures according to current parameters, in line with an ancient recipe and trying to preserve the memory a local and regional spent much linked to this industry, continuing the product to have much acceptance in the eating habits of the area's population. In the current gastronomy, its uses are varied: in salads, served in thin slices, garnished with small pieces of fresh cheese or consumed as an aperitif.