Kitchn Love Letters

I Load Up on the Tinned Fish from This Sustainable Brand — And You Should Too

published Jan 19, 2022
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Credit: Izy Hossack

Tinned fish has been around since about 1830, without a pause. In recent years, however, there’s been a certain amount of chef adoration poured over these little cans of preserved aquatic proteins and a renewed general appreciation for their ease and accessibility (not to mention great flavor). I’ve seen tinned seafood on some highbrow menus, as well as some more casual ones, and have even been served the fish right in the tin itself. My friend Angela who lives in Maine has been enjoying weekly tinned fish nights with her husband, Joe. I’ve seen new brands popping up online and on grocery store shelves. All around, it feels like tinned fish is having a moment and being enjoyed and appreciated at a higher-than-usual level.  

Credit: Katie Workman

I’m here now to talk about Fishwife. It was the vibrant, cheery, and somehow simultaneously modern and retro packaging that first caught my eye. It almost jumps off the shelf at you! But it’s what’s in — and behind — those tinned fish that really sold me.

All the seafood from Fishwife is sustainably sourced, with each product being 100% traceable on the blockchain, from egg to tin. Packed by hand, the origin of each type of fish is thoughtfully selected by the makers. The smoked salmon is from Norway and like no other smoked salmon I’ve tried — super rich and delightfully flaky, raised off a Norwegian island in the Arctic Circle, smoked in small batches over various woods, and hand-packed by a family-owned cannery in the Pacific Northwest. The smoked rainbow trout hails from Magic Valley, Idaho, and the wild-caught sardines are caught in the Eastern Atlantic and packed with preserved lemon and olive oil in Galicia, Spain.

The company is female-founded and -run, and cheekily named Fishwife, which is a term dating back to the 16th century that was used to describe the wives of fishermen who “sold their fishy wares at the market.” They point this out on their packaging, also mentioning that over the years it evolved into an insult for loud, foul-mouthed women. Way to reclaim the name, Fishwife!

Buy: Fishwife Smoked Atlantic Salmon, $32.99 for 3 (3.5-ounce) tins

Credit: Katie Workman

I can think of no better way to eat and serve any of the Fishwife fish than with some crusty country bread and a smear of unsalted butter. It’s simply delicious. If you’re looking for options, though, I have several more. The salmon would make a spectacular salmon salad, as would the tuna (skip any oil in the dressing — there’s plenty in the fish itself). Add chunks of the fish to a pasta, or whirl it into a purée with some fresh herbs, a bit of mayo or sour cream, and a squeeze of lemon. You can also fold some into a Greek orzo salad. For an instant, casual appetizer or meal, Fishwife rightfully recommends trying the sardines with some cracked pepper, a squeeze of lemon, chopped fresh herbs, and/or a drizzle of hot sauce. It’s still morning here, but I can already tell you it’s how I plan to kick off my evening!

Have you tried this tinned fish? Tell us about it in the comments below!