Salt-cured (see cure) tuna loins produced mainly in Spain's southern provinces of Huelva, Cadiz and Almeria. The Moors, who inhabited this area centuries ago, introduced this tuna preservation technique that's still used today. The word "mojama" is derived from musama, Moorish for "dry." The tuna loins are packed in salt for several days, rinsed and then dried for about 3 weeks. During this process the tuna loses about 50 percent of its weight and turns dark red to reddish brown. The flesh becomes firm, succulent and mildly sweet with a concentrated tuna flavor. Mojama is traditionally sliced very, very thin, drizzled with olive oil and served as tapas. It's exceedingly versatile and can be used in a variety of other dishes, such as with pasta or rice or as part of a salad.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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