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Peter the eater

Using Seafood from a Can

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Fresh seafood is at the top of my list. However, getting it to the table more than once or twice a week is a challenge -- and I live across the street from the Atlantic Ocean. The nearest market is at least ten miles away although I do have neighbors who fish for a living and they're often willing to sell or barter or give samples.

Frozen seafood usually works for me depending on the species and the amount of time spent in the freezer, and whether it's IQF at sea or by me. Smoked or salt fish is something I'll buy a few times per year.

Lately I've been enjoying quite a bit of canned seafood and figured a devoted topic was in order.

What canned seafood is in your pantry? What do you like to do with it?


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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For a long time, the only seafood in my pantry was canned tuna, and I used it almost exclusively for tuna salad sandwiches. One day, out of sustainability and health (mercury) concerns, I switched to canned mackerel, which I can get easily at the local Asian grocery. I like it just as much as tuna in sandwiches - and my cat likes it better. The only problem is that the cans are much bigger than cans of tuna, so if I open one, I've committed myself to a whole week of mackerel salad sandwiches!


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I don't think I've ever had mackerel from a can. The bay where I live gets two runs of mackerel each year, and people go down to the wharf with their jigs. This is the same time it shows up at the market and on menus. Canned herring is much more popular around here.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Always have canned salmon and canned sardines in the house. Sardines on toast are a regular lunch item. The salmon may become salad or salmon cakes. Also, always have jarred, pickled herring in the 'fridge :biggrin: in case we get the urge for a Danish lunch.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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Here's what I have on hand -- oysters, mussels, clams, crab and tuna. There's also a jar of pink lumpfish roe aka mock caviar in the fridge. What I didn't realize until now is that all of these cans came from SE Asia.

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Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Canned tuna makes a fine pasta sauce. My 2-year-old loves it! Then again, a nice quick tuna mayo sandwhich filler for days out is also a winner.

Other than that, it's anchovies for a whole range of mediterranean recipes, from putanesca sauce to bruschetta, and indeed, some tasty Scandinavian dishes such as Janson's Temptation.

Lastly, I do like a good clamato and who is seriously going to buy fresh clams for that?

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Oh oh - I forgot that canned baby clams live here (used to make Crammed Chowder from Looney Spoons), as do anchovies (for Caesar salad), smoked clams and smoked oysters (used for appetizers). I gave up on canned crab meat or canned shrimp and now prefer to use the frozen variety.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Other than that, it's anchovies for a whole range of mediterranean recipes, from putanesca sauce to bruschetta, and indeed, some tasty Scandinavian dishes such as Janson's Temptation.

Oh yeah, anchovies for sure. Mine come in a jar, but that's pretty close to "canned."


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Not sure if this belongs in the hall of shame as well, but I always have a few tins of smoked oysters in my pantry ... to eat alone, nothing but me and a fork. The fiancee loves it (heaping levels of sarcasm).

Other than that, canned tuna for sure, as well as anchovies and sardines.


 

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Not sure if this belongs in the hall of shame as well, but I always have a few tins of smoked oysters in my pantry ... to eat alone, nothing but me and a fork.

You are not alone. My can of smoked 12 oysters in the yellow box above cost 99 cents. I smear them on toast, or even use them on a Beef Wellington instead of the pâté and mushrooms.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Even when I was living in Japan with an abundance of cheap, delicious fish available, I still bought canned fish on occasion instead, so this has me thinking: is canned just convenience? I admit to using (and loving) canned anchovies and sardines, and can't help but wonder if it's specifically for that slightly dried out texture that most canned fish have... You know, the better to soak up flavorful liquids or dressings with.

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Canned tuna & salmon are always in my cupboard for lunches and things. Anchovies, another pantry staple. Sometimes sardines - minced onions, black pepper, splash of Maggi sauce.

A couple days ago I snarfed down an entire tin of smoked oysters. All by myself.

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Even when I was living in Japan with an abundance of cheap, delicious fish available, I still bought canned fish on occasion instead, so this has me thinking: is canned just convenience? I admit to using (and loving) canned anchovies and sardines, and can't help but wonder if it's specifically for that slightly dried out texture that most canned fish have... You know, the better to soak up flavorful liquids or dressings with.

I'd like to know what goes on inside the can to make some stuff taste better.

I recall seeing a Spanish restaurant on TV, maybe it was Anthony Bourdain on his way to El Bulli, and I think all they served was canned seafood. They looked like they were cracking open vintage bottles at a vinyard.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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A vivid memory from early days of public Internet food discusion (around 1983 on the newsgroup net.cooks, now rec.food.cooking) -- I think I have it archived somewhere but this is from memory, and might garble details outside main point -- is an account by an Australian or NZ contributor, former soldier in one of the multinational disputes in E or SE Asia -- possibly Korea or early (1950s or early 1960s) Vietnam conflict. Thus the events happened some 50 years ago.

He described exchanges of food among soldiers allied but from units of different nationalities. All used canned food, but what was in the cans varied greatly, by national custom. He said that the ROK (Korean) soldiers had a kind of canned tiny octopus or squid, very spicy, and highly esteemed by the non-Korean soldiers who would trade all sorts of foods for it. (I've always wondered if the appeal of the novel rations was reciprocal.)

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I am enjoying the smoked oyster love! They are the quintessential 60's tidbit! My parents and I love them, but Mr. Kim and Jessica have a DEEP disgust for them. When I was a little girl Santa always left a tin of them in each of our stockings and he still leaves them for me nowadays. I eat the entire tin while alone in the house and take the can out to the trash before everyone else comes home. The cats have always cleaned up the plate for me, though!

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When I was a kid most seafood came from a can. I grew up in the middle of the desert, hundreds of miles and a major mountain range between us and the nearest coast, so fresh and even frozen seafood were something of a luxury. This is what I buy and what I use it for:

Clams, whole or minced: sauteed along mushrooms with garlic and dry chiles, used to top pasta. I actually like the minced better.

Smoked oysters: with saltines and pickled chiles or hot sauce, this is my favorite midnight snack of all time. Substitute some more substantial crackers, add some decent cheese, pickled mushrooms and some drinks and it becomes an after-party snack that allows you to talk to your date instead of spending 20 minutes over a hot stove in your party clothes while your date gets bored.

Squid and octopus: squid either whole and stuffed with its own tentacles or coarsely chopped. Octopus coarsely chopped. Both are available in olive oil, in their own ink or in hot sauce. I like these over white rice, in a pasta sauce or with some saltines as a midnight snack.

Sardines: available in oil, tomato sauce or hot sauce, this pig-disgusting fodder is fit only for the trash or the gaping maw of a moping, drunk engineer. Serve with saltines, two aspirin and copious amounts of water.

Tuna: I only use this about once a year, in my trailer-style casserole. It has many variations but the fundamental rule is that nothing fresh or remotely fancy or labor intensive can be used. We're talking Campbell's Cream of Mushroom, vegetables from a can and plastic-wrapped slices of process cheese. It's a fun dish, I swear.

Anchovies are also a staple, and mussels are an occasional buy I still haven't quite figures out what to do with.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Canned tuna, both in oil and water. The former for pasta sauces and such, the latter for tuna salads/tuna melts. Anchovies, of course. Salmon, because sometimes I just have to have the salmon patties my Mom made when I was a kid, and they use canned salmon. Those are the regular staples which I always have.

I just bought a can of Trader Joe's canned baby shrimp, thinking it would be good for salad-y type applications, maybe stuffed in an avocado. Haven't used it yet. Very occasionally a can of pasturized crab meat (refrigerated) for crab cakes. Even more occasionally a can of minced clams for linquine and clam sauce.

Oh, and bottles of clam juice to sub for fish stock when I'm in a hurry and need it for gumbos or jambalayas. Those are a staple as well.


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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at present have at home: tinned anchovies(shhh... don't tell the hubs) tinned clams, tinned salmon and tinned crab so i can make chowdah and cakes or timbales or my world famous green goddess salad dressing.

at work i have cryo tuna. i do prefer it for making salad in a hurry - unless i am poaching fresh.


Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Growing up in a household where smoked fish in general was popular, I got a taste for tinned kippered (i.e., smoked and salted) Herring, commonly "kippers," which my father often served in weekend breakfasts. (He may have acquired the taste while living in Britain in the 1940s.) I later learned that smoked fish in general are traditional and popular in Northwest Europe (Britain, Scandinavia).

Mention of (German-based US specialty grocer chain) Trader Joe's reminded me that they often feature German tinned fish products from Appel Feinkost, which is well worth knowing about. That superb German firm markets internationally a huge range of quality tinned smoked and non-smoked fish (fresh and salt water), including delicate unsmoked salmon filets (which Trader Joe's here alas stopped carrying some years ago) and both unsmoked and lightly smoked trout filets (which I believe TJ still sells). A much wider selection of Appel Feinkost products surfaces at German delicatessen shops (like the famous Dittmer's here in silicon valley). ("Feinkost," literally fine-taste, is an idiom meaning a delicatessen in German.)

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I am not a huge lover of seafood, so my shelf-stable fish products are limited to anchovies (too many uses to list!), tuna (for sandwiches, pasta salad and the occassional warm pasta) and salmon, for very occassional salmon cakes.

And speaking of salmon cakes/patties, they seem to mentioned a few times on this thread. How do you do yours, and what do you serve them with?

Mine evolved from a potato-topped salmon loaf my mother used to make. She served it with a chunky-tomato based sauce that had large pieces of peppers/capsicum and zucchinni and was quite heavily spiced with chili. Now when I make them they have well-browned onion, spinach, lemon zest and dill or oregano in them and are lightly crumbed on the outside. We have them with rice or mash and the same sauce my mother made.

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Here's a little cookbook that might serve some of you well: Tin Fish Gourmet. Simple but good recipes.

I like that Table of Contents, thanks for the link. I also like her other book.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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And speaking of salmon cakes/patties, they seem to mentioned a few times on this thread. How do you do yours, and what do you serve them with?

For fish cakes in general, salt cod is hard to beat. For a recent family wedding I poached six large salmon for the reception, then made chowder and cakes for brunch the next day. The cakes were potato-based with butter, egg, flour, s & p, and dill.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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... Smoked oysters: with saltines and pickled chiles or hot sauce, this is my favorite midnight snack of all time. Substitute some more substantial crackers, add some decent cheese, pickled mushrooms and some drinks and it becomes an after-party snack that allows you to talk to your date instead of spending 20 minutes over a hot stove in your party clothes while your date gets bored...

Now here's a man who knows practicality.

Sardines: available in oil, tomato sauce or hot sauce, this pig-disgusting fodder is fit only for the trash or the gaping maw of a moping, drunk engineer. Serve with saltines, two aspirin and copious amounts of water.

But Dakki, you may be having problems letting go of chiles and applying... black pepper (sardines in oil). And enough salt, of course. I can't believe the number of canned brands that forego it and mention nothing on the tin. "King Oscar" is one non-offender, but of course much of their 'sardines' are 'sild' or more accurately, baby herring. Anyway, toast sliced bread on one side, crush fish onto other with knife used to scoop them from tin, dust with pepper (and drizzle with oil from the tin if you can still focus well enough), and grill again to perfection.

(You may also be missing out on miso soup as the world's best hangover cure).

Here in Blether Heights there are canned sardines (yay ! But only occasionally), canned anchovies, only rarely canned tuna (not generally great value, the Costco multi-pack works but I really just don't go there), and umm... smoked oysters now and then, that never make the cupboard.

For the rest, fresh mostly trumps frozen, but both beat canned handily. I take no credit for the distribution network for seafood where I live, just as those who can easily have cured pork products that haven't negligently been allowed to go a little rancid should enjoy that.

PS today I scored a fivesome of beautiful, fat, caught-this-morning fresh sardines for 5 bucks and spent an hour or so filleting them and turning them into carpaccio with S&P, EVOO, and konbu ponzu. There were still side-bones in the meat, and it was really, really delicious, but I almost came to understand why sardines are turned into surimi (minced). I was also extra glad I'd taken the trouble to carry my Apex Edgepro down to the boat a few months ago and put an edge on the knives.


Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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