My father doesn’t cook much but is an ace at barbecuing, cooks most of the seafood that he fishes and used to make the best sardine butter on toast. I still make this for my daughters regularly, the youngest even liking it for her breakfast. And that, is because it is really tasty.
Tinned fish is generally highly underrated, categorised as an ingredient that is too basic, too strong in flavour or uninteresting. But it has always been used in my family to make many dishes. I recall that they were mostly the dishes I looked forward to when I used to visit as a child, whether it was my aunt’s crab loaf (made with tinned crab) or my grandma’s tuna stuffed tomatoes (made with mayonnaise and tinned tuna). Tinned fish is indeed a versatile ingredient which can be served as a rustic pâté, as the main player of a family meal or as a refined starter of an elaborate dinner.
It is also the ultimate on-the-go food for a Paleo, and a tin of steamed mackerel is often in my packed lunch if I am out and about or travelling – I do take a disposable spoon or fork with me though, I concede that fingers are not recommended…and read the label. I always read the labels. This is because there isn’t always just fish in it (like in the case of tinned crab).
Assuming the label has been vetted, it is a healthy and cheap food, which after the culinary and financial excesses of Christmas, seemed to be an appropriate subject for January.