Tinned fish—A staple food in many European and Asian countries—is finally enjoying its long overdue moment in the States. These women-owned brands, which put thoughtfully sourced fish front and center in their flavor-packed tins, have made it worth the wait.
Inspired by the fishmongers of her Prince Edward Island home, Chef Charlotte Langley is on a journey to revive the lost art of preserving Canada’s freshest catches—like PEI mussels in a smoked paprika and fennel tomato sauce, and smoked wild albacore tuna in olive oil—with her finned-fish company, Scout. “I’ve been a chef and ocean steward for almost 20 years now, and it still takes a massive amount of effort and work to be heard and seen in this space,” she says of the male-dominated industry. But that only fuels her commitment to creating “an equitable and delicious blue future for us all.”
TRY: Atlantic Canadian Lobster with a bit of mayo and chives on a bun for an easy, DIY lobster roll.
“Tiny Fish Co. allows me the national platform to advocate for sustainable and locally sourced fish that working at a restaurant can’t do,” says founder and Top Chef: Portland alum Sara Hauman. “My focus is on big, bold flavors in a tiny tin, using sustainable species of fish that aren’t the usual suspects you find on your grocery store shelves.” Sweet soy sauce with a hint of wasabi makes rockfish harvested off Coos Bay, OR, shine. And black pepper and brown sugar take smoked geoduck (a giant clam) to the next level.
Drawing inspiration from the “brash, foul-mouthed, and brassy” fishwives of yore, Fishwife was founded by Becca Millstein and Caroline Goldfarb during the height of the pandemic. Their sardines and smoked salmon, tuna, and trout became an instant sensation thanks to eye-catching packaging and premium quality, not to mention a few choice limited-edition collaborations, including one with Sichuan spice master Jing Gao.
TRY: Smoked Salmon with Sichuan Chili Crisp over a bed of warm sticky rice with sliced scallions.
Cofounders (and actual sisters) Emma Teal Laukitis and Claire Neaton employ an all-woman team at Salmon Sisters, which celebrates their coastal heritage—the two grew up on their family’s commercial fishing boats in Alaska’s remote Aleutian Islands. Fishing runs in their blood, and stewardship of the water is essential to their business, which ships smoked offerings like octopus, salmon, and herring as well as wild Alaska salmon, cod, and halibut nationwide. They also sell super adorable water-ready gear.
TRY: Wild Alaska Smoked Herring in a simple bowl of linguini with butter and herbs.
Top image: Michael Lavine
This article originally appeared in BUST's Winter 2022-2023 print edition. Subscribe today!