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Tinned fish is finally getting the credit it deserves, thanks to TikTok trends and Instagram ads that have been flooding social media feeds as of late. Seafood preserves, however, are more than a passing trend. For many communities around the world, tinning fish is a tradition dating back hundreds of years, an integral part of the gastronomy of European nations like Portugal and Spain.
There are endless reasons to appreciate preserved fish. Not only is canned seafood an easy way to improve cooking, it's also the most environmentally-friendly meat for purchase. Small fish like sardines and anchovies are one of the lowest-carbon animal proteins and shellfish like mussels are one of the most sustainable foods.
Tinned fish is luxury in a can, the picnic-perfect treat. It's a healthy food packed with nutrients, remains shelf stable for years, and its convenience is unmatched. If that isn't enough, many brand packages are works of art, adding splashes of color to any pantry. Forget the supermarket canned fish brands of yesteryear; dive into the best upscale offerings of tinned seafood the world has to offer these days.
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Those familiar with Patagonia primarily as an outdoor clothing company might be surprise to learn they also make tinned seafood. But Patagonia Provisions is committed to selling high-quality, sustainably-sourced food, including a variety of canned fish.
Options include gourmet-level lemon caper mackerel, Spanish paprika mackerel, roasted garlic Spanish white anchovies, and smoked or lemon herb mussels. The cans can be enjoyed as decadent camping food, or in recipes at home. Tins are $8 apiece on their website, cheaper via a subscription service. They're also available at Fresh Market, Whole Foods, and Patagonia stores.
Alaskan fishermen Emma Teal Laukitis and Claire Neaton are the Salmon Sisters, and they offer some of the purest sustainably-caught wild fish on the internet. While their focus is mainly frozen salmon shipped directly to the doorstep, they also offer tinned fish–smoked Alaskan salmon and smoked herring — for those who want shelf-stable, no-cook options.
The prices ($11-$14 per tin) may seem a bit steep at first glance, but it's worth the quality. Part of all proceeds goes to the Food Bank of Alaska.
Matiz is one of the most accessible (and more affordable) high-end tinned fish brands out there. Purchase directly from the Spanish company's Amazon shop, or find their cans in grocery stores like Fresh Market.
Pricing for their tins start at less than $5 when buying a multi-pack. The wild-caught sardines come in a variety of options (from Spanish olive oil to spicy) and they also offer pulpo octopus, organic mussels, and wild cockles in sea salt brine.
While La Curiosa may be hard to find in the states, the tins are available online from import stores like Despaña, which sells an exclusive collaboration with the brand. Each piece of fish at La Curiosa gets selected and placed in the tins individually, adding a hand-crafted human touch to every can.
The brand uses only the finest natural ingredients from the Galician estuaries, sticking to traditional recipes. Prices of individual tins range from under $10 (for sardine paté) to over $20 (for spicy mussels).
Founded in 1966, this Spanish seafood company hasn't strayed much from tradition, aside from modern-branded packaging. La Narval's factory is located on one of the saline estuaries of Galicia, complete with a dock where fishermen can deliver fresh fish daily.
In addition to classic Spanish sardines, they offer unique options like whole stuffed squids in ink sauce and octopus in spiced sunflower oil. Most tins are somewhere between $8 and $14, but can be as high as $27 for the Galician clams. Simple recipes can be found on their website, so after you order from elsewhere (like Rainbow Tomatoes Garden), have fun turning your tinned fish into a gourmet lunch.
Minerva is manufactured by one of the oldest Portuguese fish canneries, Poveira, their flagship brand since 1942. The company promises only the highest-quality fresh fish Portuguese waters have to offer; they value transparency so much so that their entire manufacturing process can be glimpsed on their YouTube channel.
Minerva's products are prepared using a traditional method of cooking the fish before tinning. In America, tins typically range from $7 to $15 via several online tinned fish retailers.
French gourmet food company Albert Ménès is known for their spices, jams, and exceptional seafood products. They offer elegant tins of sardines, cod livers, and tuna, all manufactured at their cannery in Brittany.
While this brand can sometimes be hard to find, the online tinned fish store Rainbow Tomatoes Garden sells their organic boneless and skinless sardines for $15.50. If there's a French imports store near you, it's worth checking there as well.
Located in Denmark, Fangst sells tinned seafood caught from Nordic waters and flavored with Danish herbs. The fish is MSC certified and all herbs and oils used in the tins are organic.
What makes Fangst stand out is Nordic flavors that can't be found in other brands, like the Baltic brisling sardines with heather and chamomile, which adds a beautifully floral touch to the fish. Tins range from $7.99 to $10.99 and are available through online marketplaces like Caputo's.
What sets Güeyu Mar apart from other canneries is that they're the only brand that grills the fish before preserving. They also might just win the award for the most whimsical packaging.
Masterminded by Spanish chef Abel Álvarez (who owns a restaurant of the same name), Güeyu Mar is for the true connoisseur. Grilled over an oakwood fire and smothered in various Spanish sauces, their options have an authentic earthy smokiness. Tins range from $20 to over $50 (via Despaña), but it doesn't get much more gourmet-in-a-tin.
Oyster farm Island Creek in Duxbury, Massachusetts has recently made a splash in the tinned fish game as well. Partnering with Spanish cannery Mariscadora, Island Creek offers mussels in pickled sauce, scallops in viera sauce, cockles in brine, and several options of canned clams.
Order directly from their website, where prices range from $12 to $38 per tin. Their online shop sells other brands as well, making their website a convenient one-stop shop to sample multiple brands.
An upscale American brand of tinned fish started by the team behind NYC restaurants Hart's, Cervo's, and The Fly, Minnow partners with canneries from around the world to offer an expansive variety. From Spanish garfish to Icelandic cod liver, they aim to utilize only the highest-quality, most sustainable options available.
Check out their tins, which range in price from $8.99 to $13.99, via their website. Or try the variety pack for $59.99 and sample all their offerings.
Based in Los Angeles, Siesta Co. was started by a Spanish-American husband and wife team. Inspired by the tinned fish back home in sunny Spain, they offer traditional flavors wrapped in modernity for American consumers.
Their unique offerings include tuna belly in yuzu kosho and small squids in organic olive oil. On the official website, their tins are available in multi-packs. Three-packs start at $24.95, or opt for the variety five-pack for $40.95.
Jose Gourmet's Instagram bio reads, "somewhere between art and Portuguese gastronomy." It's a good summation of the brand.
The packaging of each tin is decorated with beautiful illustrations, and the fish inside are bursting with gourmet flavors. The smoked small sardines, the mackerel filets in curry sauce, and the spiced octopus are a few of the highlights. Food52 offers a variety 4-pack for $39.99 or — for those who really want to commit — Rainbow Tomatoes Garden offers all the flavors for $397.50.
Pinhais And Nuri
The cannery Pinhais & Cia in Portugal has been tinning fresh seafood since 1920, producing their flagship brand Nuri sardines in addition to their namesake brand, Pinhais. What makes these brands so special is that they're committed to tradition and do everything by hand instead of machines — right down to the outer wrapper.
Nuri sardines are some of the most artisanal yet approachable tinned fish out there. Find this brand in several online stores for reasonable prices, or at World Market, where they sell for only $4.99.
Conservas De Cambados
Founded in 1985, Conservas de Cambados is located in Galicia, Spain and maintains a reputation for some of the best gourmet tinned seafood available. Their simplistic yet elegant packaging is inspired by the colorful nets along the coast of Spanish fishing villages, and their offerings include unique options like barnacles in brine, baby eels, and sea urchin roe, as well as traditional, tasty sardines in olive oil and mussels in pickled sauce.
Prices range from $8.79 for sardines to $53.99 for cockles in brine, via Caputo's. Give them a chance, and you might just fall in love.
Conserverie Gonidec is a French cannery located in the walled town of Concarneau in Brittany. Founded in 1959 and passed down through generations, it's the only cannery in the region.
The products are branded as either "Jacques Gonidec" or "Mouettes D'Arvor," with both offering a taste of Brittany in a tin via options like herbed sardines, tuna à la moutard, and the decadent mackerel in muscadet wine. Prices typically run over $8 at local French imports stores and online marketplaces like Caputo's.
Tiny Fish Co.
Inside the colorful boxes of Tiny Fish Co.'s products are high-quality seafood, sustainably harvested from the waters of the Pacific Northwest. Created by Sara Hauman, a James Beard semifinalist and former "Top Chef" contestant, Tiny Fish Co.'s flavors are certainly chef-level.
There are three options available for purchase directly from their website: octopus in butter with lemon and dill, black cod in soy sauce, and chorizo spiced mussels. Each can be had for $14 per tin.
Since 1920, the Spanish brand Ramón Peña has been at the forefront of creating high-quality seafood preserves. Using products only from the Galician estuaries (the most prized area for seafood in Spain) this cannery is serious about only supporting sustainable fishing methods and keeping standards high.
The black and gold or black and silver packaging radiates luxury and the tins can run as high as $43 for sea urchin, via Caputo's. But the sardines, mussels, and tuna are all reasonably priced, especially for the quality.
Deeply rooted in its Alaskan heritage, Wildfish Cannery was founded in 1987 and has been creating sustainable smoked seafood preserves across three generations of the same family. Chef Mathew Scaletta, the grandson of the founder, has added a gourmet touch of modernity with surprising combinations like octopus in bullwhip kelp hot sauce and their seasonal limited-edition smoked coho in birch syrup, a fan favorite.
Purchase Wildfish products directly from their website, where prices range from $10 to $26 per tin. It's Alaskan gold.
Like many Spanish brands, Los Peperetes source their products from Galician waters and takes quality control very seriously. The result is upscale restaurant-level seafood, conveniently in a tin.
In addition to their own brand, the company also manufactures a line of tinned seafood for the Spanish chef José Andrés and his market in New York City, Mercado Little Spain. Expect gourmet prices; it's $57 for the razor clams and $28 for their sardines in escabeche.
This Spanish company has roots in Sicily and brings both cultures together with their recipes. Olasagasti's fish come fresh from the Cantabrian Sea; the factory workers then clean, cook, select, and hand pack only the finest parts.
Their specialty is tuna, and they offer an array of interesting preparations of the fish including tuna filets with white bean, tuna filets with sun-dried tomatoes, and tuna filets with ratatouille. All are priced at $10.99 and available at online retailers like Caputo's.
Ekone's specialty is their tinned smoked oysters. This high-quality shellfish is harvested from waters off the coast of Washington, then steamed, brined, and smoked with maple.
They also offer the oysters in lemon pepper and habanero flavors, in addition to smoked salmon, smoked tuna, and smoked mussels. Prices are about $10 to $13 per tin and can be purchased directly from the company's website, found under the umbrella of their parent company Taylor Shelfish Farms.
A Spanish importing company that aims to make authentic Spanish conservas (and other goods like olives and spices) easily accessible to American consumers, Donostia Foodsmakes premium tinned fish, including high-end anchovies that have been praised by chefs and connoisseurs. These aren't pizza parlor anchovies; they're delicate white beauties from the Cantabrian Sea, flavored beautifully with extra virgin olive oil and wine vinegar.
Get these on their website, along with other Spanish classics like sardines in escabeche and cod fish in biscayne sauce, all for very reasonable prices that mostly fall under the $10 mark.
Those unfamiliar with the Canadian canning company Scout are seriously missing out. Their organic Prince Edward Island mussels in tomato and fennel sauce make an excellent addition to pasta or pizza, their rainbow trout with dill is delicious on toasts or atop salads, and the canned Atlantic Canadian lobster makes lobster rolls super easy.
The Seafood Snacks, which are tinned tuna with crunchy toppings, come in three flavors — za'atar crunch, chili crisp, and chile jalapeño — and make a quick, fun lunch. Purchase packs directly from Scout's website; the tins are available at Whole Foods and through Thrive Market, with prices starting at $5.
This company's name seems to pop up frequently on social media — Fishwife is all over the internet and their eye-catching branding is hard to miss — and now here's the chance to try it. Fishwife aims to bring tinned fish to a new audience who never knew just how healthy and delicious preserved seafood could be.
Their inventory includes sophisticated recipes like sardines with preserved lemon, slow smoked mackerel with chili peppers and garlic, and smoked rainbow trout. Three-packs sell for $27 to $39, directly from their website. Be sure to check out their store locator, to see where tins can be purchased locally.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.