Canned fish: poor people’s food or gourmet cuisine? I think of it as the best kind of fast food: it’s basic, it’s quick, it picnics well, and it is something anyone/everyone can really enjoy. I first got into canned seafood as a child while camping. My father always brought canned smoked oysters and kippered herring and served tasty morsels to us one cracker at a time around the campfire. As I got older, we moved into the regular “tuna salad” sandwich for lunches – which was simply canned albacore tuna and mayonnaise. My first taste of sardines was as a late teen. I had always been turned off the idea of eating a fish where the bones were included, and something about seeing the whole “body” of the fish made me reject them whenever they came out. However, again – handed to me on a cracker mashed with tomato paste and worcestershire I discovered my love of sardines. I have been known to put on potluck parties where canned fish plays a prominent role – as it brings me some kind of great joy to bring people around to the gourmet side of a delicious and healthy dining option
I’m always hunting around for more ways to introduce my love of canned fish to my young son. In fact, I feel as though I have just posted about canned fish, then I looked back and I have…right, 2 days ago when we had Italian canned tuna and pasta. Tonight I wondered: can I use kippered herring to make a salad dressing? The answer: a salad that everyone at the table was excited about. The mixture of salty herring, the bite of crushed garlic and fresh minced shallot, combined with the tart sweetness of white balsamic was very tasty. If think you might need a gentle introduction to canned fish that allows you to get to know it but without jumping in feet first – this salad dressing will woo you:
Garlic-Herring Dressing (Serves 2 large salads)
Pound 3 cloves garlic and 1/2 a canned kippered herring in a mortar, once mashed add 1/4 a fresh shallot, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons white balsamic, 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard and 1/2 the juice of a lemon. Continue to pound and mix all ingredients.
The final dressing has a thick consistency and I figured it would sit really well on a small leaf salad like spinach.
I added avocado and tomato to the spinach and the salad was complete and beautiful. The dressing was the perfect compliment to grilled fish supper, but can be used with any meal as it is more of a salty-sweet flavour that comes through rather than fishy. We have a policy with our four-year-old that he can reject any food – but he must always try one bite before being allowed to reject whatever that food is and for whatever reason. He loves salad, so I wasn’t too worried about the dressing, but we had him try it prior to dishing up regardless – he had seconds.
3/4 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch
1/2 a banana
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup quinoa
3 oz spicy chicken breast,
spicy pickled green beans
balsamic-olive oil-lime juice dressing
sunflower seeds to top
Grilled trout with steak spice
Spinach salad with tomatoes and half an avocado
Perrier with Lime
1/2 a bottle of Rioja
and a lot of YouTube Karaoke
We made it! It is the week’s end and we have been saving this bottle of Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserve 2010. Not for a special occasion or anything, just for that one night a week that we get to sit around and drink exactly 2 1/2 glasses together.
We have a wine ritual. We look forward to it, and the one for tonight is more special than our usual – as we sat down to figure out how to plan our upcoming fifth wedding anniversary. We already know what we want to do: Karaoke. We want to rent a private karaoke room and have our loved ones with us as we sing some really sappy love songs to one another and video record a number for the future. In an ideal scene, we will pull out the video camera or whatever MP4’s become and watch these kinds of videos with our grown children and they’ll groan and we’ll think we’re awesome; frankly, because we are awesome – we will have songs to prove it.
Our goal for the evening was to start to compile a list of songs that we might want to sing and try out singing them as duets through the course of a bottle of wine. Needless to say, we’ve found some really golden ones and have settled on our keystone song as the Kenny/Dolly duet: Islands in the Stream. After we found a good amount, the evening degenerated into just signing anything and ended with some pretty hoarse sounding renditions of our favourite Led Zeppelin songs.
A day well spent with good food consumed: gourmet or just basic? We love the idea of both in one tasty can.