Get­ting schooled on canned fish cui­sine

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - Satur­day, Septem­ber 29, 2012 JUDY CREIGHTON

Some gourmands might not agree, but there is a place for canned seafood in day-to-day cook­ing and Su­san Samp­son has demon­strated its worth.

“When I opened my mind to what could be done with canned tuna, salmon, lob­ster and all those other fish avail­able in peo­ple’s pantries, I re­al­ize that most only equate these con­ve­nient prod­ucts in sand­wiches,” she says.

Her fas­ci­na­tion with readyto-eat fish va­ri­eties has re­sulted in 200 Best Canned Fish & Seafood Recipes: For Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp, Crab, Lob­ster, Oys­ters and More (Robert Rose, $24.95, pa­per­back).

Samp­son, for­mer food ed­i­tor of the Toronto Star turned cook­book au­thor, wrote 12,167 Kitchen and Cook­ing Se­crets be­fore em­bark­ing on this book. She did ex­ten­sive re­search and haunted Cana­dian su­per­mar­kets and spe­cialty food shops to find va­ri­eties of canned fish. She also ate a lot of fish dishes as she de­vel­oped and tested all the recipes, most of which are clas­sics along with her own cre­ations.

“Fresh fish is won­der­ful, but if you don’t have the time or money it is also very ex­pen­sive,” she says. “And af­ter a day work­ing you have to get din­ner on the ta­ble fast, so it is just a mat­ter of open­ing your kitchen cup­board and find­ing a can of old faith­ful there.”

She found canned tuna is the sec­ond most pop­u­lar seafood in North Amer­ica af­ter shrimp. “I have recipes in the book for tuna salad, piz­zas, dips and soups,” she says. “And I re­ally got into clams, es­pe­cially the meatier surf clams which look bet­ter and are sub­stan­tial in chow­ders and on piz­zas.”

Of Hun­gar­ian her­itage, Samp­son re­calls grow­ing up eat­ing small fish like sar­dines, mack­erel and her­ring. “All con­tain a lot of health pluses and I have used them not only on toast but in pas­tas and teamed with pota­toes.”

An­other bonus with canned fish, she says, is that they are in­ter­change­able, so if a recipe in the book calls for salmon, for ex­am­ple, you can use an­other species. “Han­dle it gen­tly and re­mem­ber that it has al­ready been cooked dur­ing the can­ning process.”

Robert Rose/the Cana­dian Press

Canned fish shouldn’t be treated as sec­ond-class sub­sti­tute, au­thor says.

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