Tinned fish: portable and sustainable
By Lisa Nicklanovich; courtesy photo
Like the popularity of charcuterie boards and sourdough bread, tinned fish is having its moment. For pescatarians or anyone who enjoys seafood, tinned fish is a satisfying pantry staple and provides variety from fresh or frozen seafood. While some may have grown up enjoying sardines and oysters from a can, many are most familiar with tuna when they think of canned fish.
Unlike a typical can of tuna, the tinned fish being imported from places like Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, has been canned using a centuries-old way of preserving and eating fish. A variety of oils and spices are added to complement the fish’s flavor. Hard-earned knowledge and skill that has been passed down for generations goes into canning fish.
In the last few years, more tinned fish brands and varieties from Europe have become available here in the U.S. and are appearing in specialty stores as well as grocery stores and even on menus.
There’s also the sustainability of eating tinned fish. In many cases, the method of canning makes use of smaller fish that are lower on the food chain and have healthy wild populations.
Salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, herring and smoked oysters are just a few of the types of tinned fish that are portable protein powerhouses. Tinned fish are sources of omega-3s, vitamin D, and calcium. Since no refrigeration is required and they aren’t perishable until opened, tinned fish are a great snack with crackers while on a picnic or while hiking or camping.
Although no cooking is required to enjoy tinned fish, all varieties can be incorporated into dips or added to chowders or stews. Homemade Caesar dressing with mashed anchovies is much more flavorful than the store-bought kind. A friend mixes anchovies, which are potent so a little goes a long way, with olive oil, tomatoes, olives, and capers for a quick puttanesca sauce to go over pasta. She also suggested either topping a cooked potato or stuffing half an avocado with sardines. Fresh herbs, a sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of lemon would be the finishing touches on either.
Expand the seafood repertoire in the pantry from tuna and try a variety of these smaller, tasty fish. Ask a local grocer or shop online for the highest quality available.