The One Tinned Fish Brand Andrew Zimmern Can't Get Enough Of

There's little that chef and food critic Andrew Zimmern hasn't tried. On "Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Foods," he traveled the world, sampling unique fare from insects to intestines. Recently, he's turned to the pantry to dish out recommendations for tinned fish that might just change your snacking habits or cooking.

In his Substack, "Andrew Zimmern's Spilled Milk," the chef fondly looks back on the delicious tinned fish he used to eat as a child, served by his father on lettuce, with vinaigrette and saltine crackers. He explains the difference between good and bad tinned fish simply: the good ones are cooked after they are already in the can. The not-so-good (usually cheaper) ones are cooked first, then canned. This typically leads to a dryer, "fishier" final product.

He isn't talking about your everyday tins of tuna, but conservas, which are canned sardines, squid, mussels, clams, oysters, and beyond. Traditionally from Spain and Portugal, the seafood is usually packaged in water or oil. However, there are also varieties that are marinated in tomato sauce and more adventurous options. Recently dubbed a "hot girl food" on TikTok, tinned seafood is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. after decades of grocery store side-eye.

With a fair amount of options for canned fish, both domestic and imported, it can be difficult to pick out the right brand. Zimmern has made the search easier by revealing one of his own favorite brands for conservas: José Gourmet.

José Gourmet has a fan in Zimmern and Redditors

José Gourmet is a Portuguese company offering an ever-expanding selection of tinned conservas. It offers all the classics, from smoked sardines to salmon. Some of its new additions are trout filets in curry sauce, octopus pate, small sardines in brava sauce, and horse mackerel in ravigote sauce. A Reddit tinned fish forum had plenty of praise for the Portuguese company. In a review of its smoked trout in olive oil, one user wrote, "The flesh is firm and the skin melts brilliantly giving a punch of fat with the salt." Another person noted, "I was blown away by the texture and skin. IMO, it's one of those cans to show off to those new to the hobby."

In a recent AMA, chef Andrew Zimmern recommended José products, calling it a "great" brand, and mentioning that he has cooked with the company's razor clams (via YouTube). He offered another pearl of canned culinary wisdom, dropping a recommendation for a smoked oyster dip. He described a mouthwatering recipe including sour cream, cream cheese, dill, smoky hot chili, scallions, shallots, and a bit of sherry. Unfortunately, José doesn't offer canned oyster products yet, but does have smoked sardines. But whether it's from a high-quality option like José, or another domestic choice, these days more and more people seem to finally be giving tinned fish its due.