Throughout my 16 years of being a pescatarian, and more so as The Posh Pescatarian, I have been asked about my preferences for using canned seafood on countless occasions.
For some, the idea of fish in a can is outrageous and nightmare inducing! These folks don’t know what they are missing! Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh seafood and make a habit of sourcing the best (I think you know this by now), but canned seafood has its place it the world.
I grew up eating things like tuna casserole made with canned tuna, and smoked oysters and sardines served atop Saltine crackers (my dad’s favorite). At this stage in my life, I enjoy high quality canned seafood products, which makes all the difference.
If you are a novice seafood eater, then it’s important to sample fish in its most natural state as possible, so that you can gain an appreciation for its true flavor before experimenting with canned fish. The reason is because processing fish alters its flavor and texture.
About fish processing
According to the environmental protection agency (EPA), fish processing includes both the canning of fish for human consumption and the production of fish byproducts such as meal and oil. Either a precooking method or a raw pack method can be used in canning.
With the precooking method, the raw fish are cleaned and cooked before the canning step. In the raw pack method, the raw fish are cleaned and placed in cans before cooking. The precooking method is used typically for larger fish such as tuna, while the raw pack method is used for smaller fish such as sardines.
My wild salmon meatloaf recipe was fun to make and experiment with. I used a combination of pink salmon as pictured above, which has a mild flavor, along with sockeye salmon, which has a stronger salmon flavor due to it higher oil content. This is my preferred flavor mix.
Every brand of wild salmon has a unique flavor so part of the instructions for this recipe is taste testing, and it’s a step that should not be skipped.
Let’s get cooking!
Special equipment needed: mini loaf pans and a food processor.
4 cans of wild boneless, skinless salmon, drained
3 tablespoons ghee
½ cup each of carrot, celery and onion. This is traditionally called mirepoix and can be purchased in stores like Trader Joes
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
¼ cup water
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon each white pepper, cumin, garlic, paprika
1 tablespoon dried thyme
½ cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup day old white bread crumbs (hot dog buns count!)
¼ cup favorite tomato sauce for garnish, have fun with this and add siracha, teriyaki sauce, etc.
Red pepper flake
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sauté mirepoix mix in ghee over low heat until softened. Add in crushed garlic and cook until fragrant. Allow the mix to cool then add it, the crushed tomatoes and water to a food process and blend until smooth. We will be adding this to the salmon to keep it moist, so a few chunks are okay. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl add the salmon, spices, panko and bread crumbs and pureed vegetable mix and stir. Add one egg and incorporate.
Taste test:In a small skillet add a little oil and heat until medium. Take a tablespoon of the salmon mixture and add it to the pan. Cook on both sides until done and taste it. Do you like the flavor? Does it need more salt?
Make the necessary adjustments. Once you have the flavor where you want to spray your mini loaf pans and evenly divide the salmon mixture between the two. Bake for 35 minutes or until the salmon loaf is set then add the tomato sauce topping and cook for another 5 minutes. Careful not to overcook.
Cool slightly before serving with mashed potatoes, broccolini, garlicky spinach or your favorite veggie mix.