Various open and closed cans of fish
Food - Drink
Here’s Why Run-Of-The-Mill Tinned Fish Tastes Fishy
There is a huge difference between premium tinned fish and 99-cent cans of tuna. Cheap tinned fish is likely to have a distinctive fishy taste that distinguishes it from fresh fish.
According to chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern, “Tinned fish that tastes fishy is from fish that is cooked before being tinned.”
The fish often gets overcooked, which releases all of its juices and oils, creating a strong taste and smell.
Zimmern goes on to say that tinned fish is best when it is tinned first and then cooked under pressure, which is known as the raw pack method.
Pre-cooking is more common with large fish like tuna, which would explain why canned tuna has such a famously stinky funk to it, while smaller fish like sardines do not.
Another thing to consider is that tinned fish usually comes packed in either water or oil, and oil-packed tinned fish generally has a stronger, slightly fishier flavor.
If you do end up with extra fishy sardines or mackerel, you can balance out the brininess with acid, like citrus or tomatoes, which will make the flavor less aggressive.