What To Do With 100 Cans Of Tuna, Sardines, Anchovies, And Mackrel?
March 7, 2015 1:37 PM   Subscribe

After a mistake in an Amazon order, I now own 12 cans of Mackerel in Olive Oil, 24 cans of White Albacore in water, 12 cans of Wild Anchovies in Water, and 50 cans of Sardines in Water. I've already eaten enough tuna/anchovy/sardine salad in the past week to last a lifetime , what else can I make with all this canned fish?
posted by Spurious to Food & Drink (35 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
More details: I live with only my SO. I also live in a rural desert town with no access to fresh fish.
posted by Spurious at 1:39 PM on March 7, 2015

Mashed sardines with lots of lemon and brown mustard!
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:42 PM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Tuna Croquettes
posted by Comrade_robot at 1:44 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Bigoli con Salsa - simple Venetian pasta dish that relies heavily on anchovies. You might be able to switch it up and use up some of the sardines, too.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 1:47 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Pasta con le sarde is my favourite way to eat sardines.
And don't panic - canned fish lasts for ages so there's no rush to eat it all straight away.
posted by une_heure_pleine at 1:50 PM on March 7, 2015 [14 favorites]

Do you have cats or dogs? I pay serious money for cat food made of sardines and mackerel that's essentially chopped up fish with juice and vitamins. It even has the skin and bones. My cats love it. If you give it in addition to regular food, your animals will love you forever.
posted by fiercekitten at 1:56 PM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Tuna and peas sounds terrible but is amazingly good.
posted by metasarah at 1:57 PM on March 7, 2015 [5 favorites]

I'd make homemade caesar dressing with the anchovies.
posted by gatorae at 1:59 PM on March 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

Spaghetti al tonno -- if you are in a hurry, you can cheat by heating a jar of tomato sauce and adding the tuna to it.
posted by Janissa11 at 2:00 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

All of those cans should last within their best-before dates for at least a year. If you have space to store them, try to eat at least three or four cans per week and they'll all be gone in a few months.

Also, I like to make tomato and tuna soup with frozen peas and carrots and a little pasta. It's sunday night comfort food for us.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 2:02 PM on March 7, 2015 [5 favorites]

Donate some of the cans to a local food bank.
posted by Coffee Bean at 2:18 PM on March 7, 2015 [22 favorites]

Anchovies are wonderful chopped up and added to any tomato-based sauce. If you mince them and toss them in with your aromatics that you fry a bit before adding the tomatoes + liquid they'll melt into the sauce completely. You'll just taste a nice depth of flavor and a little more salt (so cut down on the other added salt in your recipe.)

Most famously there's puttanesca sauce, which involves olives, capers, wine, and anchovies. Also on the Italian spectrum you could do pan-roasted fennel wedges with tomato, onion, and anchovies. Spoon onto bread, devour.

Anchovies are also used in plenty of Asian dishes, though they're usually the dried kind. The flavor profile is still there though so you can add them to things no problem. If you're good with spicy, try kimchi pancakes with anchovies and garlic chives (basically, chop that all up and mix with a simple flour based batter (just flour and water or some extra kimchi liquid to bind, an egg can be nice but you don't need it) and cook like a big pancake. Flip it with the assistance of a plate and cook on both sides until crispy. Cut it up into little pieces and sprinkle with sesame oil. Something else very flexible that would accommodate anchovies is the wonderful noodle soup called laksa, which I've never seen the same recipe for twice. This one seems like a good foundation to start from. If you really don't want spicy, try frying a few up all crispy and sprinkling onto fried rice or in addition to anything with peanut sauce for some crunch.

For the mackerel if you've got basically any recipe for canned salmon, substitute the mackerel and you'll get something tasty. It'll be different but still good. Mackerel croquettes or patties are great, or baked into a little dish with veggies and a thick sauce topped with pastry or potatoes like a pot pie.

I'd also suggest giving some of your cans of albacore to a food bank. Canned tuna is one of the more requested items. I wouldn't give the other fish to a food bank though because I wouldn't expect folks who make use of the food bank to have access to the other things that can make them really yummy, though the sardines might be okay. Call and ask.
posted by Mizu at 2:33 PM on March 7, 2015 [5 favorites]

There is a cookbook that was written to answer this exact question.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:50 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Chicken and Artichokes, with extra anchovies -- the recipe doesn't call for enough.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:58 PM on March 7, 2015

Amazon has a pretty good return policy.

Dashi with the sardines.

Or a really good Caesar dressing.
posted by slateyness at 3:10 PM on March 7, 2015

There's a great Swedish dish called Janssons Frestelse ("Jansson's temptation") which is basically just anchovies, potatoes, and cream. It's delicious, especially in winter. And it uses like six tins of anchovies. Swedish anchovies are actually not anchovies, but slightly bigger fish, but you can use normal anchovies too. Just double the number.

Alternatively for the less classy option, we make a dish that we refer to as "tuna mush". You mash some potatoes, add fried onions (like, maybe three or four caramelised onions to a kg of potatoes) add a large can of tuna or a couple of small ones, and a cup or so of grated cheese. Salt. Pepper. Mix it all together while hot so the cheese melts, and serve with a salad if you are fancy, or in a big bowl in front of the TV if you are us.
posted by lollusc at 3:18 PM on March 7, 2015 [8 favorites]

Fish cakes (sardines). You can also make them with tuna.
posted by chocolatepeanutbuttercup at 3:24 PM on March 7, 2015

The "least popular recipe ever": cauliflower with anchovy, garlic, lemon, parsley and bread crumbs.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:43 PM on March 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

Amazon is usually very good about making errors right when there are mistakes, although you sometimes have to escalate up the chain a bit. I'd actually go that route first. If it's the case that they charged you for whatever small amount you ordered, but sent the larger amount you don't want and are saying "Just keep it!" I would just send off whatever you don't want to eat to a food bank.

Also keep in mind this isn't perishable, so you can spread out your eating over time.
posted by rainbowbrite at 3:55 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding donating a food bank.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 4:03 PM on March 7, 2015

A whoppping contribution to a charity that feeds the poor and hungry?
posted by Cranberry at 4:03 PM on March 7, 2015

The Pok Pok cookbook has a recipe for a Thai-style tuna salad that is really good and nothing like the stuff that goes into American sandwiches.
posted by yarntheory at 4:12 PM on March 7, 2015

posted by XMLicious at 4:20 PM on March 7, 2015

Pizza with anchovies.
posted by limeonaire at 4:21 PM on March 7, 2015

A French classic that is normally made with fresh ahi tuna but never mind that: salade niçoise. Red potatoes, green beans, hard boiled eggs, tomato, niçoise/kalamata olives, romaine lettuce, vinaigrette.

I am a fervent tuna populist who believes this dish still works beautifully with canned tuna. The link is for just the salad, but there are variations. It's great squeezed between two slices of thick, crusty bread.
posted by nightrecordings at 4:42 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Pan bagnat? Add your own olive oil since your fish is in water. Also, nebulawindphone's cauliflower recipe is very similar to one I make, and it's great. You can also cook broccoli with anchovies, garlic, olive oil, and a little water in a covered pan for 10 minutes or so. The broccoli will be softer than you're probably used to, but the extra time gives it a chance to absorb all of the nommy flavors.
posted by mollweide at 5:05 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would donate, because I would be concerned about mercury exposure with one person trying to eat that much canned fish in a short time. Consumer Reports article.
posted by fings at 6:21 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

The anchovies should be really easy to use up as they blend in well with any pungent, salty, tomatoey dish. You can add them to red sauce for pasta, pizza, caponata, etc.

As for the tuna, I'll second salade niçoise (and pan bagnat, which is more or less a salade niçoise sandwich). I may be mistaken but I have always thought canned tuna (and anchovies!) was the norm for salade niçoise, whereas seared ahi was something restaurants do to fancy it up -- needlessly, I might add.
posted by aws17576 at 6:45 PM on March 7, 2015

Throw a tapas party! Tinned food is trendy.

We consume a lot of canned tuna, made into tuna butter: equal amounts of tuna and butter, a dollop of mayonnaise, a very ripe small tomato, a banana shallot or a bunch of spring onions, half a glass of capers; all blended well together with the machine of your choice. Left to cool for a couple of hours. At parties, this disappears rapidly, on crackers or rye bread. (And yes, it is full of fat. It is party-food, not your everyday lunch)

At the same party, sardines on toast with lemon wedges, and maybe a tiny bit of chili flakes.

The anchovies go on pizza - very simple to cook, cut into finger-food friendly slices.

With the mackerel, I'd make a salad: mix chopped up mackerel, tomato, red onions, a tiny bit of vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Decorate with mayo. Serve with baguettes.

Serve it all with a choice of white wine, beer or even sherry. And maybe also some gazpacho shots.

Anyway, there is no haste, the products are good for several years.
posted by mumimor at 12:25 AM on March 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

You don't have to do anything with them.

Most of these types of questions are about what to do with food that will otherwise soon expire. That isn't the case here.

Throw them in a pantry or in the back of a closet. They make a good emergency stash if you are stuck at home and it is not convenient to go out.
posted by vacapinta at 4:38 AM on March 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

A while ago I made a beef stew (from America's Test Kitchen) that required, as a flavor base, a paste of tomato paste, minced garlic, and chopped anchovies. This paste was so amazing and umami-rich that it occurred to me that I should make a larger batch of it to keep in my freezer to add to recipes that need a umami boost. I still haven't done that but you could!
posted by lunasol at 5:03 AM on March 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Sardines on a baked sweet potato with a little fat, lime juice, and salt if needed. Sounds gross, is wonderful and easy.
posted by hollyholly at 5:28 AM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you have pets you can make treats for them. My SO makes something called "tuna fudge" and both the cats and dogs love them.
posted by Farce_First at 5:43 AM on March 8, 2015

Sardine curry is amazing!
posted by shazzam! at 2:14 AM on March 9, 2015

Bagna cauda... oil, butter, anchovies and garlic. Serve with really crusty bread and crunchy raw vegetables. Had this at a potluck party last year and I still dream about it.
posted by einna at 10:30 PM on March 13, 2015

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