Canned tuna is a mainstay of the American pantry. Who doesn't have a can or two stacked in the kitchen cabinet, ready to be opened in a pinch for a quick sandwich? While the familiar tuna packed in water is fine for many recipes, when you really want the tuna to shine—like in Niçoise salad or a pasta sauce—tuna in olive oil is a much tastier choice. It's rich and meaty, moist from the oil, and packed with satisfying tuna flavor.
Tunas packed in olive oil are generally made with yellowfin tuna instead of albacore, and they're filleted and canned by hand, resulting in larger, appealing chunks. Many olive-oil-packed tunas come in jars, but cans are available too, and cans tend to be less expensive.
Ventresca is a special class of tuna, cut from the prized belly meat (what the Japanese call toro) of yellowfin or bluefin tuna. Gourmet stores sell jars of this tuna, packed in olive oil, and it can be quite expensive, but the buttery, silky texture and rich complex flavor make it the "caviar" of canned tunas.
Most canned tuna is sold in 6-oz. cans.