Tin can Alley
|A casa rosada signature dish, piquillo pepper tapa|
Quick: What ingredient is
delicious, sustainable, easy to store, and adds protein and healthy fats
to any dish? Canned fish of course. Tuna, Anchovies, mussels, salmon, mackerel, sardines, crab,
cockles and herrings. Tins, packets and short ingredient lists have become our best friends of late – as has ever-resourceful cooking. It’s amazing what you can do with a tin of fish. It’s also amazing what
it can´t do and what it can do to you; boasting heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and
plenty of protein, tinned fish is certainly good for you. It’s also
incredibly kind on your wallet, too. Here in Portugal you can get a good quality can of fish with good nutritional values for under um euro a pop..Just be sure to check the nutritional values on the can before you take it home, in particular checking out the salt content. Having stocked up your larder you will soon realise the benefits of having a capsule-wardrobe style cupboard of cheap,
familiar tinned items that can be tweaked every week to create an
interesting, seasonal menu. A tin of food is a magical thing. Cheap,long-lasting, and capable of transforming into a whole world of dishes. Whether it was too cold for fresh produce, or the furloughed budget made outlaying on expensive ingredients out of the question, as we near the
end of another lockdown we have relied on tinned food to keep us going.
And the best thing about a tin of food? It can be very versatile. So versatile, in fact, it inspires a myriad of recipe books on the subject, You might fancy a come to bed parmigiana from the Uk´s queen of thrift Jack Monroe or you might opt for Bart van Olphen elevating canned tuna to the heights of deliciousness. Their books focus on multiple different tins of ingredients: green lentils, tomatoes, coconut milk, anchovies, butter beans, sweetcorn, chickpeas, cherries and condensed milk. The results are simple, delicious and budget friendly recipes to break us out this tiresome pandemic. Tinned fish is commonly overlooked and not given enough credit – it’s delicious, sustainable and just as good as fresh! It can be adapted to suit simple soups, sauces , to sandwiches, salads and wholesome meals.
Scrumptious recipes for tuna, mackerel, herring, salmon and more—so tasty, you won't
believe it's from a can! Anchovy and piquillo pepper tapa, herring smorrebrod, tuna-stuffed piqillo peppers, bottled clam pasta, tuna burger. Eat them separately, or, serve
them up as a mezze or tapas selection.
When I’m at a loss, wondering what to cook that is appealing and relatively easy, I scan the non-perishable items in my pantry and take a glance at the fridge and freezer. Often,
I come across some forgotten treasure, heavenly sent to make a trip to the shops redundant.
As I rifled through the canned goods assortment recently, it came to me in a flash. A canned fish themed TV dinner. It would not require me leaving the house, acquiring a fishing rod ( you may well chuckle but the lengths some people have gone to in Lockdown!!!) or even a visit to the fishmarket — just a can opener and a few other staple ingredients.
For starters, a mouthwatering snack, there could be an anchovy tapas, the endlessly variable Spanish standby, with a glass of sherry of course
This version, simplicity itself, is a casa rosada signature dish: thin slices of toasted day-old baguette, rubbed with garlic, smeared with a dollop of pan fried marcona almonds and piquillo peppers and finished with with a carefully placed anchovy fillet.
I was so happy to find the piquillo peppers, bright red, roasted and peeled, ready to stuff. Every tapas bar in Spain serves them, sometimes with a filling of creamy salt cod (brandade to the francophiles ) or a slice of soft cheese. But my clear favourite is piquillos with a filling of tuna, parsley and buttery mashed potato. They could be tapas or the starter of a more sumptuous repast.
Finally, for a main, I had a fish burger in mind but with the same amount of tuna but made up as mini burgers this could be another tapas item, see where i´m going here?
Of course, you could also serve any of these dishes by themselves. Pintxos and crostinis as far as I am concerned are welcome any time drinks are in the offing. The stuffed peppers or the smorrebrod could be served as a light lunch, and a big old burger is a meal in itself, as too a bowl of pasta can certainly suffice for a whole meal. But having them together in one composed menu gives you time to linger at the table, enjoying companionship and discussing the complex challenges we face at this moment in time.
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely diced
1 cup bottled pequillo peppers
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (maybe more if you use more almonds)
1 teaspoon piri piri oil 1/3 cup roasted salted marcona almonds
4 tablespoons olive oil (you may need more if you use 1/2 cup almonds like I did)
baguette or small rustic bread slices