Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian family and friends. It’s been another year of things to be thankful for: health, happiness, and lots of really really nice food. This year, we hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house and got a very special treat: Spanish conservas (canned foods) to savour as our appetizers. These were specially brought in from Barcelona by LettuceMeat correspondent teeloo who now lives there! We enjoyed them with Blackbird Bakery baguettes, winners of the Lesliville Baguette Shoot-Out from earlier this year. These particular conservas came from a Barcelona specialist Jamonarium, which also sells Iberian ham, olives and cheese.
So, What Are Conservas?
I’ve learned that the Spanish are very serious about conservas – some may even say obsessed. The seafood, meat and vegetables are of the highest quality and have been artisanally cooked, perfectly seasoned and hand packed. They often command a hefty price; one can of almejas (white clams), for example, costs over 24 Euros or 35 Canadian dollars. And there are many that are much more expensive than that.
We’ve been seeing more conservas on restaurant menus such as Toronto’s acclaimed Bar Raval which serves up canned cockles, white clams, scallops, anchovies, squid, razor clams and tuna belly. The most expensive item is the cockles which will run you $68 CAD! That’s an expensive conservas… but well worth it. Bar Raval’s chef, Grant van Gameren, predicts that we will see more conservas across Canada in the next year. That would be fantastic!
Our Special Thanksgiving Feast
For our Thanksgiving appetizers, we decided to try four cans:
- caviar de oricios (sea urchin roe)
- navajuelas del Pacifico (Pacific baby razor clams)
- delicias de mar (baby eels)
- pulpo (octopus)
We drizzled each can with lemon juice and fresh chopped parsley, as they do in Spain. With crusty baguettes and aioli, the conservas were absolutely amazing. We were a little nervous about the baby eels, I must admit! Teeloo suggested that we cover in breadcrumbs and lightly broil. What a treat! They tasted mild with a nice soft texture.
Can’t wait to savour the rest of our imported conservas as a special treat (perhaps one a month?!). And since they are usually packed in high-quality EVOO, I am sure they are heart-healthy. 😉
Where to Buy Conservas – Canada Where to Buy Conservas – Europe
Know where else to buy conservas online? Please share!