Not so long ago, I was watching an episode of a “Top Chef” spinoff show, “Top Chef Duels,” in which canned salmon was one of the ingredients featured in a “high-end and humble” cook-off between chefs. The chef tasked with using it said the only thing she could think of to “save” the salmon was turning it into a mousse with smoked salt, so it might taste more like smoked salmon. Wolfgang Puck, the judge, sniffed the open can of fish and recoiled violently, like he’d been slapped in the face. I was disgusted, too — but not by the salmon.
Canned fish is not at all cool. but it is nutrient-dense and shelf-stable, making it a great choice for busy cooks and shoppers. It’s also genuinely delicious, especially used in salads, crisp seafood cakes, pasta, and more. And it’s cheap — a whole lot cheaper than a fillet of fresh or frozen fish, and that’s where the snobbery comes in.
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