Canned Fish Concepts

These are not exactly recipes, more like general “how to cook” ideas that work for me. I prefer ideas like this to specific recipes because they’re easy to remember without digging out a recipe card.

Our family is mostly vegetarian. We do like fish, but we live far from the ocean, where fish tends to be expensive…except for frozen, battered fish, which is tasty but almost always made with white fish that are low in omega-3 fatty acids. We’re concerned about mercury in tuna, but canned salmon almost always is wild Alaskan salmon, which is low in pollutants and only about $2 for the large can. Recently, we read that sardines are a nutritional “superfood”, and then I saw some in Big Lots for 75c a can, so we tried them. We didn’t really care for the strong flavor…but then we tried the concept below, and we really liked them that way!

Something to do with salmon:
Drain it. If you prefer not to eat the bones (they’re a great source of calcium, but we just find them too crunchy!) empty the can into a bowl and use your fingers to break apart the salmon and pull out the bones and drop them into an empty milk carton or similar container that you can seal in the trash, then wash your hands.

Cook some diced onion in olive oil. When it starts to brown, add fresh or dried parsley, black pepper, and the salmon. You also can sneak in some kale if you like. Cook it, stirring frequently, until thoroughly warmed. Turn off heat and mix in some lemon juice.

Serve over pasta, spinach salad, baked potato, or whatever.

Something to do with sardines:
Drain off the water. (If you get the kind packed in oil, you might want to use the oil in this too–we’ve only tried water-packed.) Put sardines in a pot and break them into small chunks with a spoon. Add marinara sauce, about 2 cups sauce per can of sardines. Heat until bubbly. Serve over pasta. You’ll be able to taste the sardines, but when combined with the strong flavors of tomatoes, onions, and garlic, they taste good!

Our four-year-old has always loved fish, but plain sardines on crackers were too much for him. When we mixed them into the sauce, he ate a ton–which surprised me, since he’d been turning down marinara for about a year and insisting on eating his spaghetti with ranch salad dressing and canned fried onions and not one speck of vegetable matter. Interestingly, eating marinara with sardines in it turned him back on to marinara even without sardines. I’m thrilled–spaghetti marinara is my favorite food, and now it’s once again something the whole family likes, and we’ve found a thrifty way to add protein and omega-3s to it!

7 thoughts on “Canned Fish Concepts

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