Ten Tins to Try, and Why by Evan S. Benn


A list of 10 Tins to Try and Why by Evan S. Benn, a longtime food journalist, Philadelphia Inquirer editor, and the writer who put RTG in The New York Times

  1. La Brújula Razor Clams No. 6, pristine, grit-free, and tasting like the Galician waters from which they were harvested, these are a pinnacle of tinned-fish goodness. I love them tossed with noodles, olive oil, and fresh lemon juice. 
  2. King Oscar Kipper Snacks, kippers are butterflied, cold-smoked herring fillets that will taste comfortingly familiar to anyone who’s noshed their way through a plate of smoked fish from a Jewish appetizing shop. Salty, smoky, and endlessly craveable. 
  3. Les Mouettes d’Arvor Mackerel in Mustard and Crème Fraiche, dairy in a tin of fish? Leave it to the mackerel experts at France’s Les Mouettes d’Arvor to make this shelf-stable standout with a sauce that tastes Michelin-star luxurious. 
  4. Güeyu Mar Calamar de Otro Planeta (Squid from Another Planet), probably my desert-island choice from this list, the one I’d eat every day in solitary bliss. I’ve tried a few options that Dan carries of tender chunks of squid marinated in its own jet-black ink, and G.M.’s is the can I can’t resist. 
  5. Cole’s Smoked Rainbow Trout in Olive Oil, farm-raised in Chilean mountain spring water, these trout fillets are gently smoked over applewood and packed in excellent olive oil. Those are the exact elements you detect in each bite: peppery olive oil, a wisp of smoke, and delicate freshwater fish. 
  6. Fangst Brisling No. 2 Smoked Baltic Sea Sprat, the tinned fish that smoked Baltic porters were made to be paired with, brislings are considered Nordic sardines, and Fangst is a standard-bearer in terms of taste and quality.  
  7. Les Mouettes d’Arvor Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Yuzu, Orange, and Grapefruit, the kind of tin where you know you’ll be ordering another one (and another one) the second you have your first bite. The citric-acid punch of yuzu puree, lemon juice, and orange and grapefruit zest just dances with these French sardines in an immaculately delicious way. 
  8. Ramón Peña Garfish in Olive Oil, also known as needle fish or needle sardines, garfish are a bit more taut and less oily than most sardines, giving them a distinct mouthfeel and flavor. I’ve been impressed with the packaging and the quality of everything I’ve tried from Conservas Ramón Peña, but this is my favorite. 
  9. Matiz Wild Cockles in Sea Salt Brine, this is the tin that helped me see and taste the difference between cockles and clams. A little less briny and a little more tender than their bivalve counterparts, cockles — I’m convinced — are the way to go with just about any recipe that calls for canned clams.    
  10. IASA Spicy Anchovies in Olive Oil, OK this one’s in a glass jar, not a tin, all the better for stashing it in your fridge after you open it. Dan’s description says it all: “the anchovy for anchovy lovers who want the things most people dislike” about anchovies. Salty, fishy, crunchy, spicy, and tail-on — you won’t be able to eat pizza without ’em ever again. 

Order this complete set and receive two (2) Reed & Barton Soho Cocktail Fork for free.  


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