Tag Archives: fish

Canned Fish is a Superstar III: Spicy, Instant Spaghetti (about $.30 per serving)

Faster than you can say puttanesca, you can muster up a nice lunch from a can of California Girl Sardines in Chili Sauce (there are also tomatoes in this). Not too hot – just a small twinge of heat. For $1.49, you get 15 oz. I’ve seen these in the wilds of Cub Foods in the Twin Cities as well as the Safeways of California – I’d be shocked if you can’t get them in a supermarket. If not, they will surely be on the shelves of your local Hispanic/Asian groceries.

Part III in a series of posts about the wonders of canned fish – click here for part I (about fishcakes and capellini), and here for part II (about fried rice).

These are quite delicious. Surprising, actually – maybe I had low expectations? I boiled about 1/2 lb of dry spaghetti (usually can be found for $1.00/lb – likely $.50 worth), drained it. Turned off the stove and threw in minced garlic (pennies) and olive oil to get the garlic to sweat in the residual heat. Added about 6 or 7 filets from the can (~$1.00 worth) and a bit of Parmesan. Mash the fish with the garlic. Throw the spaghetti back into the pan and mix, mix, mix. That’s it! Garnish with green onions/chives/etc.

Make many servings – five or six for $.150, at least (so, about $.30 per serving). Total time is about 15 minutes – 10~12 minutes to boil the pasta, and a few more minutes to add the garlic, sardines, and parmesan (I used the grated parmesan by kraft – very inexpensive at Costco). If you have diners that like sardines, I think this is actually good (and pretty enough) for company. My taste tester gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up!

The snipped chives and green onions garnishing the dish came from some container gardening – here’s a closeup of them.

P.S. I found this handy chart for measuring various ingredients in their cooked/uncooked states (like pasta diameters).

P.P.S. And, one of my friends found this video on Youtube…lesson of the day, kiddos, is that you must have the best tea no matter what!

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Canned Fish is a Superstar II: Spinach & Sprats Fried Rice

Comfort is the ultimate expression of love. Or perhaps laziness? Maybe that is why I adore fried rice. Comfy and lovely. So easy, so cheap, so good! So tolerant of whatever you might happen to have around the fridge. Or in the case of canned fish, whatever is in your pantry.

Part II in a series of posts about the wonders of canned fish.

I usually like to use smoked pork products – like sausage or bacon (or even…gasp…SPAM! one of my secret loves). Smoked pork is my nod to the char siu traditionally found in fried rice . But this time, in the interest of advancing the culinary arts, I thought I’d try some smoked sprats. This brand, unlike the Riga canned sprats, have no tartness or sour sparkle to them. Instead, they have an unadulterated smoky sprat flavor. Whoa Nelly! That is some real fish. I wondered how the smokiness and fishiness would hold up in a fried rice dish. And would spinach’s earthiness do combat with the fish? Only one way to find out!

Spinach and Sprats Fried Rice

  • 2 cups of leftover rice, still chilled from refrigeration (used white Homai rice from the beloved Costco for $9.00/25 lbs);
  • 2 loose cups of fresh spinach, chopped (I’m sure frozen would work fine too, if you squeezed out the excess water);
  • 2 jumbo eggs;
  • 1 cup of chopped onion (about two smallish yellow ones);
  • cheese as garnish (Kraft Parmesan worked nicely for me);
  • salt; and
  • copious amounts of black pepper.

My fried rice is pretty informal. In an ideal world, maybe you scramble the eggs first, then add them back to the rice mixture. That’s probably what I should have done, but the results were fine without that step. Heat up the cast iron skillet, to almost smoking hot. Lower to medium high. Add the vegetable oil. Throw in the onions. Then add the rice and use the spatula furiously – folding, folding, folding. Beat the eggs, then throw them in. Scramble wildly. Loosely chop the sprats. Throw them in. Fold in the spinach. Sprinkle salt generously, after tasting. Load up the rice with as much black pepper as you can stand. Garnish with cheese. Yes, I know this is not traditional. Serve with a flourish. Wait for adulation – it will arrive! I received compliments, just a warning!

Canned Fish is a Superstar I: Jack Mackerel (Capellini and Fishcakes)

Please, there is no reason to pretend. I know what you are thinking…I’m in love with canned fish too…

First in a series of posts about the wonders of canned fish.

Each can of jack mackerel (costing $1.29 ~ $1.79) yields a lot of protein (and omega-3‘s). I have no idea why they are so inexpensive but I definitely appreciate it. Scroll down for inexpensive preps of this fine fish: Jack Mackerel Cappellini (extremely fast), and Jack Mackerel Cakes (not as fast, but very nice!).

Jack Mackerel Cappellini

  • 2 oz. of dry, whole wheat cappellini (angelhair); (1 lb of Full Circle = $1.59 / 8 = $.20);
  • 3 or 4 frozen brussel sprouts (12 ~ 14 oz for $.87 / 6 = = $.15) ;
  • 1/2 of canned jack mackerel filet ($1.29/6 = = $.22);
  • olive oil (pennies);
  • sea salt (I used Whole Foods 365 brand…can’t remember now what it costs, but, it was such a steal!);
  • and pepper (pennies).

Boil and drain the pasta. Flake the mackerel, and mix it with the hot pasta, olive oil, pepper. Salt to taste – the fish is not salty, but contains salt. Microwave the Brussels sprouts for 2 or 3 min, halve them, and toss with everything else. It’ll be very nice (and about $.60 for this serving). I promise!

Jack Mackerel Cakes

Heritage Recipes has a simple, simple, simple recipe for Jack Mackerel Cakes. Three ingredients: 1 can of jack mackerel ($1.79 for the BumbleBee brand), cornmeal (I mixed polenta and cornmeal in my version because…the polenta was there…about $1.00/lb, and I used less than 1 cup…about $.50 worth), and 1 egg (I think I used a jumbo, probably $0.16). Makes seven huge cakes, as the recipe says (about $.35 apiece) . Took pictures of my process. Enjoy! I served this with a ketchup/Worcestershire sauce (to approximate a tonkatsu sauce). My dines were very very happy. The recipe works so great – this was my first time trying it, and I got rave reviews!

Update (03/20/08): I’m just adding a link I found in askmetafilter, about eating fish more frugally.