When it comes to seafood-based recipes, chef Stephanie Harris-Uyidi, aka "The Posh Pescatarian," says canned fish, which has gotten a bad rap in the past, can be a more affordable and sustainable option.
"A lot of people think that tinned fish is a doomsday-kit staple," she told TODAY Food. "They think of it like this really weird thing — like the old tuna cans that cost 99 cents or the really stale sardines in cottonseed oil you get for cheap in stores. But canned fish, or tinned fish, has made a comeback over the last five or six years, and now you really can find tinned fish that's as high quality as fresh fish."
Harris-Uyidi believes canned fish is gaining popularity because people are looking for fresh and interesting ingredients to cook with.
When purchasing canned fish, the Southern California-based chef said it's important to look at which region the fish comes from.
"In the U.S., there's a lot of good stuff coming out of Alaska, mostly in the form of salmon and halibut," she explained. "You'll also find some really great products coming out of Portugal, Spain and Morocco."
"It's not just tuna and sardines like most people think," Harris-Uyidi added. "I buy tinned octopus, cockles, a Mediterranean fish called dorade, squid in ink — it's wonderful and I think it's having a moment."
Harris-Uyidi also says to try to spring for pricier canned fish, as that's a sign the product was processed in a way that will enhance its quality and flavors.
"Some tinned fish, for example, is cooked outside of the tin then packed and sealed, and those tend to be lesser quality," she said. "Higher quality versions tend to be cooked within the tin for a very short period of time."
"Also look for varieties packed in olive oil instead of cottonseed oil," Harris-Uyidi added. "Literally those high quality ingredients are what make it delicious."
Harris-Uyidi shared eight recipes that highlight canned fish, from salmon sloppy Joe's to anchovy-infused deviled eggs, for healthy weeknight dinners that won't break the bank.
"I grew up eating deviled eggs for Easter and things like that, but I'm also not a fan of mayo," said Harris-Uyidi. "I presented this dish at our last family gathering and it went over like gangbusters."
Made with many traditional deviled egg ingredients, this recipe adds anchovies to give the dish a punch of umami and salt.
"The fish does all the work," she said.
Harris-Uyidi said combining a meaty and substantial ingredient like eggplant with a French-style baguette makes for a fantastic sandwich.
"This sandwich is traditionally made with tuna, but when you swap out tinned dorade, it just makes it a little more luxurious and rich," she explained.
"I call this 'Italian octopus' because I use a brand of Italian octopus, but this is also a really popular dish in Spain," said Harris-Uyidi. "It's a really simple way to bring the flavors of the Mediterranean to your table for under ten bucks."
Using a rinsed can of cannellini beans, olive oil, tomato and simple spices combined with smoked clams, Harris-Uyidi said this dish takes only a few minutes to put together.
"Served with some crusty white bread, it makes for a wonderful meal," she said.
"Mackerel is one of those fish that tend to be really strongly flavored, so people stay away from it," she said. "But they shouldn't be afraid of it when it's tinned because the process of canning fish really mellows it out."
A unique take on a childhood favorite, these salmon sloppy Joes are "a really wonderful sandwich that pleases most palates," according to Harris-Uyidi.
"This is a classic brunch dish," she said. "Herring is another one of those fish that tends to be a little strongly flavored but just like mackerel, when it's tinned, it's just delightful."
Harris-Uyidi said these delicious Thai salmon cakes are one of her go-to dishes.
"It combines all the herby flavors that come with Thai food with the salmon," she explained. "You can make these as an appetizer or even serve them on a mini bun as a slider."