Tinned Fish—What’s the Fuss All About?

May 5th, 2023


I am a huge fan of tinned fish! From tuna to mussels, squid to mackerel, sardines to anchovies and all the rest, there are few foods I get more excited about. I am on a personal quest to get more people interested in this overlooked, under-appreciated treat. Long popular in Europe, especially Portugal and Spain, as tapas in bars, it is only now really catching on in the US.

There are hundreds, probably thousands of brands on the market, including some absolutely top-quality lines that are made in small batches in the US. Three companies I am especially excited about right now are Tiny Fish Company out of Portland OR; Fishwife from Los Angeles, CA; and Good Food Award winner Gulf of Maine Conservas from Rye, NH.

All use ethically and sustainably caught fish; all are committed to the highest quality standards; and all are freaking delicious. Of course, we carry other awesome tinned fish from Spain, Portugal and France that adhere to the same rigorous standards of quality and sustainability—check out our brand spanking new tinned fish display to check out what’s new!

Why get excited about seafood in a can? Well, with the exception of tuna, most of the fish that’s preserved this way is small, lower on the food chain (meaning much lower in heavy metals like mercury); abundant (meaning sustainable), and high in Omega 3 fatty acids (meaning great for your health). The tuna we carry is mostly pole and line caught, meaning one fish at a time and no by-catch.

The other reason to get excited is that there are incredibly creative and delicious flavors out there, such as Tiny Fish Company’s Octopus with Lemon, Butter and Dill—tastes like the best lobster you ever had—and Fishwife’s Fly By Jing Chili Crisp Smoked Salmon. I adore the Les Mouettes Mackerel in Mustard and Crème Fraiche, and Woodstock Cashier Leader Nina’s daughter is crazy about their Salmon and Mackerel Rillettes.

Finally, I am in love with tinned fish because it is portable and makes a quick and fantastic addition to a salad or stack of crackers for lunch. I literally threw a can in my purse to have for lunch yesterday, and it was perfect. Great on a hike or a picnic as well. Just pop open a can and dig in!

Or reimagine Linguini with Clam sauce using a variety of tinned seafood—I recently made one with razor clams, octopus and smoked mussels, and it was amazing. Or try making sardine salad with lots of parsley and preserved lemon and olive oil. There are so many ways to enjoy this fantastic and versatile food—if you want more suggestions, just ask, and I will be happy to walk you through our selection!


Related Articles