This simple snack has kept swimming its way onto our social media feeds ever since canned fish was named an unofficial "hot girl" food during the summer of 2022. If you haven't already jumped on the canned fish bandwagon, you should know that it's not too late. The cultural significance of canned fish appears to be almost indestructible, much like its shelf life.
Perhaps the trend's simplicity alone is what makes it so popular. You only need a few cans of seafood, some other finger foods of their choosing, and a partner (or friend) to share it with to replicate a tinned fish night. Don't worry if you're still unsure how to do it correctly; we're here to help you. So let 's jump right to it.
History of tinned fish
Though eating fish straight out of a can may seem a little strange, the practice has been around since the early 1800s in France. After all, humans had to devise ways to preserve food before there was refrigeration. France was engaged in a slew of overseas warfare in 1795. The French government was looking for a method to feed its navy personnel at sea. Nicolas Appert, a Frenchman, started experimenting with canning fish in 1795. Appert submitted his canning process and innovation and was awarded a prize from the government in 1810. However, Appart used glass jars, which were difficult to carry due to their fragility. British inventor Peter Durand addressed this issue and patented his own fish preservation method: fish in a tin container. Thus, we arrive at our current procedure.
How did it go viral?
Bay Area chef Hooke is credited with starting the TikTok craze when she started sharing videos of her weekly "tinned fish date dates" with her husband in July 2022. The viral videos show her at-home date night setups, which often include a variety of canned fish, natural wine, and crackers. 27 million people have viewed tinned fish videos on the platform, which feature anything from taste tests to tinned fish snack boards. There is also a tinned seafood subreddit where over 28,000 fans discuss their favorite tins, the condiments that go with them, and their opinions on the dish's recurrent name "hot girl food."
In essence, convenience is what draws people to tinned fish. The ease of consuming such cuisine is appealing; all you need is a can of anchovies, a slice of bread, and a fresh tomato for a complete dinner. Anchovies and alici are a staple of Italian cuisine and are highly regarded. Tinned or brined fish is a constant component of Spanish tapas spreads and Italian aperitivo. It's easy to understand why a new generation of TikTokers is enjoying the flavor and practicality of the preservation method. The move for canned fish might also be attributed to the rising expense of living. It is one of the most cost-effective proteins on the market. When finances are tight, throwing a few tins of sardines into the trolley can make a protein-rich lunch relatively affordable.
What to pair with tinned fish?
Tinned fish goes nicely with a variety of wines, including young reds, rosés, and rich whites like chardonnay. They go well with light wines that are simple to drink but have complex flavors as well as cava or champagne. We've broken down some of the most popular types of canned fish and which wines work best with them.
Mackerel is a fish that pairs well with these wines since it is fatty and oily. A rich red wine like gamay noir, pinot noir, or even a dry sherry would go well with smoked mackerel.
Squid and Octopus
Albario is dazzlingly acidic and comes from a region that has long cherished the marriage of energizing white wine with salty sea foods. Another choice is sparkling rosé, which perfectly captures the large, briny features of the squid.
The Spanish-inspired spirit Txakoli goes well with sardines. Another excellent option is chardonnay, particularly if you can find one with noticeable acidity.
Vermouth is excellent with mussels in escabeche (pickled olive oil). But, wines like sauvignon blanc (particularly from New Zealand) and vinho verde work really well. Vermouth can also be used if the proteins are smoked.
As the razor clams can more than hold their own against it, a richer, more flavorful red is a wise option in this situation. A Cote du Rhone, such as this one, is an excellent choice. Another excellent wager is tempranillo, which is a natural option considering its dominance in the Iberian Peninsula.
Chardonnay or rosé goes nicely with tuna belly and bonito. A traditional pinot grigio is also a good choice if the tuna is served alongside other foods like cheese and olives on a picnic blanket or table.
Be sure to have a few additional items on hand to enhance the experience as you get ready to truly indulge in wine and canned fish. Pickled veggies provide a terrific culinary zing on the side, and items like bread, potato chips, and crostini are ideal for dipping. Have some different spreads and sauces on hand, and make a simple salad to serve as a palette cleanser in between pairings.
Here are just a few of our favorite ways to enjoy tinned fish as a snack to get your mind working:
Chunks of tuna + avocado + hot pepper + lemon + drizzle of olive oil + sea salt
Smoked Trout on Toast
Cottage cheese + smoked trout + fresh herbs
Tinned razor clams + mayo mixed with hot sauce + lemon + fresh herbs + sea salt
Quickie Brunch on Toast
Pickled veg + soft boiled eggs + tinned fish of any kind
The Ultimate Cocktail Snack
Seedy crackers + softened, salted butter + anchovies or sardines or clams.
Canned wild Alaska salmon + eggs + herbs
The Gabrielle Hamilton
Oil-packed sardines + Triscuits + Dijon mustard + cornichons.
Snacky Spread on a Plate
Hummus + shaved raw carrots + smoked trout, oil-packed tuna or oil-packed smoked salmon