We all grew up on tuna fish sandwiches, whether we liked it or not. Sally pulls out her bag of carrots and a PB & J, Frankie his bologna with Kraft slices, and I pull out a soggy, fishy, tuna sandwich, and everyone stares. And holds their nose.
But it turns out my mom was on the right track: James Beard famously said that tuna is the "only food better canned than fresh." He was entirely wrong, but it stands that canned tuna is a wonderful delicacy.
But why aren't America's children raised on canned salmon? The other day, strolling down the grocery store aisle, I decided to investigate whether it was worth buying the more expensive, imported canned tuna. As my eyes reached the edge of the tuna section and kept roving, there stood before me: Canned Red Salmon. What was this oddity? It was no more expensive. I love fresh salmon. What would James Beard's palette say to this?
A quick scan in the indexes of my favorite cookbooks revealed Pierre Franey's recipe in The New York Times 60 Minute Gourmet, paired with chickpeas and freshened by, somewhat predictably, fresh dill. People are always pairing fresh salmon with dill, so this would be a nice way to compare canned taste to what I'm used to.
The recipe is about as easy as making a bowl of cereal: you just put all the ingredients into a bowl, the salmon last, and mix. Upon opening the can, it looked and smelled suspiciously like canned tuna, even by color. But the taste was different: more delicate in flavor, less fishy-tasting, a little richer. Also, virtually all canned salmon is wild-caught, making it safe and very nutritous.
An excellent recipe for a quick lunch out of the pantry, and certainly cheaper than buying it fresh. Not a replacement for fresh by any means, but a welcome alternative. Recipe after the jump.
Pierre Franey's Salmon and Chickpea SaladAdapted from The New York Times 60 Minute Gourmet
1 can canned chickpeas
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablepoons chopped dill
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 can salmon, drained.
1/2 cup cubed tomatoes (optional)
Combine all ingredients except salmon and mix well. Add the salmon and tomatoes if using. Top with more fresh dill and serve with crusty baguette.