Tinned Fish are my secret weapon
At home, for the plane, and even for the best potato chip nachos!
Happy Monday, and I hope you had a good weekend eating and drinking and spending time with friends and family around a nice long table!
Today, I want to talk about tinned fish. This is a food that has become so very trendy lately thanks in part to a Tik Tok “tinned fish” craze with all these influencers making videos about “conservas”— the Spanish word for tinned and canned seafood.
It's wonderful that these influencers are bringing more people into the world of tinned seafood, but I am proud to say we Spaniards have been eating canned seafood way before all the Tik Tok stars and hip young people in Brooklyn! I even went onto Tik Tok myself to remind people of this, and I talk about it on my podcast that comes out tomorrow, so be sure to tune in!
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In Spain we can everything: squid, cockles, sea urchin, mussels, percebes (barnacles), anchovies, and sardines, and also our amazing bonito (the amazing albacore tuna caught in the Cantabrian Sea packed in olive oil)! If it is from the sea and you cannot eat it perfectly fresh, then the next best thing is from a can. Really! These little sea creatures can stay for years in oil marinating, and when you open it up, you will find them lined up neatly inside the can. They almost look too beautiful to disturb, but you must because they are so delicious!
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I always have a few different types of tinned fish at home for when I need a snack or something to feed my friends who come over without telling me. I also like to keep a can or two with me when I fly in case the airplane food is not good.
When I am home, there’s a lot I like to do with tinned fish (besides just eating them straight from the can, which is one of the best ways). Another very easy one is to get some toasted bread, maybe spread some salted butter on it, and then layer on your favorite canned fish. Sardines are a favorite of mine not only because they are fantastic, but because they are sustainable and healthy with lots of good fats for your heart. I even have my own line of tinned sardines, little ones from Galicia that are caught by net along the shores of the Rianxo estuaries of northern Spain.
Now, back to how to make the toast! On top of the fish you can add some freshly cracked black pepper maybe, some chiles, or a few drops of the hot sauce I love from Spain called Salsa Espinaler (we have it at Mercado Little Spain in Mild and Spicy…I’ll let you guess which one I prefer!) and that’s all you need for a perfect afternoon bite or cocktail party snack.
I’ll share one more way I like to eat canned fish which is even more fun…I put a can of tinned fish over a bag of potato chips! Yes my friends! Crispy salty chips make a great platform for those little fish marinated in oil. Of course I love my own chips, but you can use whatever you like, take any bag you have in your pantry now or go to the corner store and get some.
Open up the bag and pour the mussels (or cockles, or mussels, or sardines, or…) over the top of the chips. Then you eat the chips with the flavors of the oil and the fresh briny fish on top! I think that potato chips and tinned fish is going to be the next viral trend. We will start it now, together, you and me!
So, what are your favorite tinned fish and how do you like to eat them? I want to hear all about it.