Food - Drink
The European Region That's Perfected Canned Seafood
The process of preserving food has been explored thoroughly throughout the centuries with new techniques emerging during the beginning of the 1800s. With seafaring countries naturally developing thriving fishing industries, the need to preserve during times of abundance became necessary.
The advent of canning opened up an entirely new method for preserving delicate seafood, and it wasn’t long before the Iberian countries, Spain and Portugal, became masters of the process. Both the countries were relatively poor, yet both are richly steeped in incredibly textured and nuanced cuisine.
These countries' demand for high-quality culinary ingredients gave way to a prosperous conservas (canned fish) industry. Chef and restaurateur Abel Álvarez explained, “The best conserva makers are canning fish caught literally the day before, why wouldn't you maintain the freshness of that fish as long as possible?”
Portuguese and Spanish conservas also add additional ingredients that enhance the flavor and texture of the fish, including the juice, called liquido de cobertura. Mussels are bathed in vinegar brine infused with garlic, paprika, and bay leaf while hearty fishes like tuna and mackerel are soaked in tangy olive oil or salted water that has been spiced.