Recipes from a Can

You read that right. You can do wonders with canned food.

Portuguese Canned Fish, part of our past and history as far back as the 19th century, is a true culinary gem that has been getting a lot of attention internationally and is big with fans of a healthy and sustainable diet, due to being a high-quality product full of flavour, colouring-free and preservative-free, rich in omega-3 fats, versatile and convenient.

It has become a modern-day shining example of sustainable consumption, contributing to the preservation of marine biodiversity and avoiding food waste. Since the fish are preserved in cans, their shelf life is significantly longer than that of fresh fish, reducing food waste and the risk of overfishing. In short, Portuguese Canned Fish is a historical and traditional commodity that has maintained its relevancy in the modern world, offering a variety of options that are healthy, tasty and sustainable. These are increasingly “fun”, creative and surprising…

Canned fish can be served as appetisers, in salads, mains or even as a sophisticated tasting menu. With 34 different species of fish and over 800 products to choose from, the combinations are practically endless!

If you’re still not convinced, today we have for you the recipes of chef Pedro Almeida, who’s always had a unique flair in the kitchen, making the most of friendly get-togethers to try out new flavours, much to the delight of those present.

After graduating from Estoril’s Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies, he worked in several restaurants across Portugal before being chosen in 2019 to head the CAN THE CAN kitchen team as Executive Chef. CAN THE CAN opened in 2012 with a concept untried anywhere in the world, as a flagship for the national canning industry, Portuguese canning and traditional preservation methods. They prove how Portuguese canned foods are a unique commodity with a long tradition and of excellent quality, where all you need to add are a few fresh ingredients that are well-prepared and presented in order to serve up a prime example of typically Atlantic cuisine. CAN THE CAN is located on that noblest of squares in Lisbon, Terreiro do Paço, where the city embraces the river and we get lost gazing at the ancient sea-faring horizon. As they depart from the dock, we begin to wonder, if ships are tin cans, then might we be sardines?

“Ventrasca” tuna belly, in a “molho vilhão” sauce

Tuna belly, “molho vilhão” sauce, mussels and sweet potato

Ingredients (for 2 people)

· 1 can of “ventrasca” tuna belly
· 1 can of mussels
· 200 g cooked sweet potato cut into small chunks
· 1 tablespoon of butter
· 20 g chopped parsley
· 1 teaspoon saffron
· 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
· 1 seedless and skinned roasted pepper
· 1 onion, diced
· 2 garlic cloves, sliced
· Vinegar to taste
· Olive oil to taste
· Salt to taste
· A few parsley leaves to garnish


1 — Open the can of mussels and drain the water. Season with olive oil, vinegar and saffron. Set aside in the fridge.

For the sauce:
2 — Place a drop of olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion and garlic without browning them. Add the roasted pepper, the smoked paprika and 2 spoonfuls of vinegar, and let cook for 2 more minutes.
3 — Place the ingredients in a food processor and blend.

For the sweet potato:
4 — Put one tablespoon of butter in a frying pan and lightly fry the potatoes on all sides.
5 — Remove from the frying pan and coat with the chopped parsley.
6 — Open the can of tuna belly, drain the oil and set aside.
7 — Arrange the tuna belly in the centre of the plate and drizzle with the hot vilhão sauce.
8 — Serve with the potatoes while still hot and the mussel vinaigrette.

Sardines, in a coriander foam

Sardines, in a coriander and olive foam, fresh tomato and basil salad

Ingredients (for 2 people)

· 1 can of sardines
· 8 cherry tomatoes
· ½ sliced red onion
· 10 g of chopped basil
· 20 g of coriander
· 8 pitted green olives
· 200 ml milk
· 1 can of sardines
· Olive oil to taste
· Red wine vinegar to taste
· Salt to taste
· A few coriander leaves to garnish


1 — In a bowl, add the cherry tomatoes and the sliced red onion, season with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and chopped basil. Set aside in the fridge.

For the coriander foam:
2 — Place the coriander, olives and milk in a food processor, season with salt and blend. Set aside.
3 — Open the sardine can and drain the oil. Slice the sardine fillets in half and remove the spine. Set aside.
4 — On a deep-bottomed plate lay the tomato salad and the sardine fillets, bring the coriander foam mix to a boil and then with a hand blender whisk until frothy, arranging it around the salad and topping with coriander leaves.

Tuna belly “à lagareiro”

Tuna belly “à lagareiro”, pepper and mirin rice wine, green beans with tinned anchovy butter and lemon

Ingredients (for 2 people)

· 2 cans of tuna belly
· ½ can of anchovies
· 200 g green beans
· 1 tablespoon of butter
· Juice of ½ a lemon
· 1 seedless and skinned roasted pepper
· 50 ml of mirin sauce
· 3 garlic cloves, sliced
· 10 g of chopped coriander
· Olive oil to taste
· Salt to taste
· A few coriander leaves to garnish


For the sauce:
1 — Add roasted pepper, the mirin and one sliced garlic clove to a food processor, and blend till smooth. Set aside.
2 — In a frying pan, put a drop of olive oil and sauté the green beans for 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and add a spoonful of butter, the half can of anchovies and the juice of half a lemon. Set aside.
3 — Open the can of tuna belly, drain the oil and set aside.
4 — Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a frying pan, add 2 sliced garlic cloves and bring to a simmer. When the garlic begins to turn golden-brown remove from the heat, add the tuna belly and chopped coriander, and fold in.
5 — Arrange everything to your taste on a plate and drizzle with olive oil “à lagareiro”.

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