The most challenging (but also the most fun) part of this 'recipe' is the sourcing of the tinned fish. There are no boundaries, and the selections should be based on the highest-quality available and personal choice. I dabbled in tin fish in Spain and in Italy. After trying things I would never have tried but for them being served to me, I found I loved tinned octopus. I couldn't wrap my taste buds around mackerel (probably because it is a fish I do not enjoy when prepared as sushi or cooked anyway). I taste tested tuna and found I love the Tonnino brand sold in jars at Whole Foods. Sustainably caught off the shores of Costa Rica and certified by the Marine Stewardship council, it is a responsible way to eat tuna and tastes extraordinary. This recipe is mostly an assembly of high-quality ingredients and is my favorite way to feed guests their first bites at a gathering. From jammy eggs with jarred Alaskan salmon roe on top to a two minute prep of trout paté to a make-ahead sauce such as Argentine chimichurri with store-bought ingredients such as a sliced loaf of ficelle, olives, potato chips, and jarred chili crisp, this board relies entirely on assembly. Experts from all over the world who can or jar fish have serious thoughts on what a smoked mussel or sardine or cockle or octopus should taste like promise a global culinary journey. So far, I haven't met a can I haven't had the courage to dig into, and my taste buds have been rewarded over and over for my bravery. This is a fun and new alternative to the ubiquitous cheese and charcuterie board. Go ahead and start collecting interesting tinned seafood during your travels abroad or at your local supermarkets and specialty stores.
cuisine Mediterranean
difficulty Easy
season Year Round
serves 6 to 8


  1. Go wild at your local grocery or specialty food store for cans or jars of tinned fish, mollusks, bivalves, cephalopods, shrimp, caviar, clams, trout, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, or cockles. Ethnic stores often have dreamy selections.
  2. Gather a bag of chips, a loaf of small sliced bread (we like the long loaves of skinny ficelle), some olives, chili crisp, and ingredients to make GQ Chimichurri, or pick up a pre-made sauce such as the salty, tangy, sweet, and spicy South African peri-peri.
  3. Mix the crème fraîche, salt and freshly ground pepper, with some lemon juice. Add the trout and stir to combine. Place on bread rounds and top with snipped chives. If too thick, add a bit of milk until it is a desirable consistency.
  4. For the jammy eggs, bring a small pot of cold water to a boil. Gently lower the eggs (1/2 of an egg for each guest) into the water and boil for exactly 6 1/2 minutes. Run the boiled eggs under cold water and then carefully remove the shells. Slice the eggs in half, place on the fish board and top with salmon or caviar row.
  5. Transfer some of the tinned or jarred goodies to small bowls or plates and leave some in the original tins (because it is fun!).
  6. Stack small plates and have lots of small cocktail forks to pick up the tinned specialties and small spoons to ladle on the condiments. It is time to go to town and enjoy this tinned journey around the world.