TINNED FISH IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT INGREDIENTS: brilliantly versatile, harvested and preserved at the peak of its quality and flavor, more economical than fresh seafood will ever be, as healthy and nutrient-packed as food gets.
Focusing on sustainable and easy-to-find anchovies, sardines, mackerel, shellfish, and more, here are 75 recipes that will change the way we think about and cook with tinned fish.
Whether it’s creating an addictively delicious Spaghetti con le Sarde, transforming a pork roast with a mackerel-based “tonnato” sauce, elevating mac and cheese with crab, or digging into the simplest and best snack ever—anchovies, bread, and butter—cooking with tinned fish is pure magic.
Cast-Iron Rib-Eye Steak with Anchovy Butter
While this recipe suggests using a rib eye, there’s really no cut of steak that won’t work well with anchovy butter. Ask your trusted butcher for whatever looks the best in their case, and you’ll be happy. While pairing anchovies and steak may seem a bit odd, the two are actually a perfect match. Anchovies are often hiding in your steak sauce anyway, so I’m positive this will become your go-to accompaniment when cooking your favorite cut of beef. Once you get the hang of making anchovy butter, you can use it other ways; it is equally delicious slathered on warm bread, or thrown in a pan with pasta for a super-quick and simple meal.
2 sticks (230 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
10 anchovy fillets, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground toasted fennel seeds
1 ¼ -pound (565 g) rib-eye steak
1 tablespoon canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground
To make the anchovy butter: In a food processor, combine the butter, anchovies, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and fennel seeds and pulse until all the ingredients are completely incorporated.
Use a silicone spatula to transfer the butter to a plastic container with a lid. Use the butter right away or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.
To make the steak: Take the steak out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes before you start cooking. This helps even the temperature of the meat, which makes it easier to cook to the desired doneness.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat and pour in the canola oil.
Liberally season the steak with salt and pepper. Not only does this enhance the flavor of the meat, it creates a delicious crust. When the canola oil begins to smoke, add the rib eye to the pan. Cook it on each side for 4 to 5 minutes for medium-rare.
Transfer the steak to a platter and top with as much anchovy butter as you’d like. The heat of the steak will melt the better and create a delicious pool for resting. Allow to rest for 8 minutes, then slice, spoon some of the melted butter over the rib eye, and serve.
Excerpted from The Magic of Tinned Fish by Chris McDade (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021.