The One Dish Geoffrey Zakarian Says Should Always Be Made With Canned Fish - Exclusive

Canned fish is making a comeback in a big way: Sales of canned fish have been on the rise over the past few years, partially due to some of the popularity surrounding it on foodie TikTok. Of course, it is not altogether surprising that people are turning toward it — fish in a can is a relatively inexpensive and convenient choice, especially during times of rising grocery prices. But that does not change the fact that some people — especially those in the fine dining community — might still view it as nothing but a cheap alternative to fresh fish. Fortunately, that's not always the case.

We got the chance to speak to noted chef Geoffrey Zakarian for an exclusive interview at the 2023 South Beach Wine & Food Festival. There, surrounded by the seas and sand, we asked him if any recipes might actually be enhanced by the use of canned fish rather than a fresh catch. Zakarian did not disappoint, and he drew from his years of cooking mastery to give us an answer.

Tradition vs. adaption

Geoffrey Zakarian noted that there is one dish that sticks out to him that should always be made with canned fish. "Niçoise salad should always be made exclusively with canned Portuguese or Spanish tuna packed in olive oil — never fresh tuna," he said. Niçoise salad is a traditional salad that hails from Nice, France; it is hearty and flavorful, and it features hard-boiled eggs, olives, and tomatoes, as well as canned fish.

Zakarian is passionate about using canned fish for this dish, as that is the traditional way to do it. "The use of fresh was an American adaptation," he explained, "but the traditional way has always been with canned." While canned fish may have gotten a bad reputation in the United States, the same can not be said for Europe, where canned fish such as sardines is not only accepted but considered a luxury at times.

If you want to hop on the canned fish train, follow Geoffrey Zakarian's lead and assemble yourself a niçoise salad with Portuguese or Spanish tuna packed in oil — you will not regret it.

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival is taking place from February 23 to 26, 2023.