Inspired by the abundance of underutilized fish in the Pacific Northwest and the ready-to-eat products found in Asian and European markets, Tiny Fish Co. “embraces the flavors more often found in restaurants than in a box.”
Other sea fish
“Preserved food is a snapshot of time and place,” says Sara Hauman, owner and chef of Tiny Fish Co. The 34-year-old entrepreneur is a two-time James Beard Rising Star semi-finalist and a fan favorite for Top Chef Portland 2021.
“I want to continue to embrace local sourcing like I would in a restaurant while showing consumers nationwide the richness of the waters of the Pacific Northwest.”
Hauman works closely with a family-run shellfish farm based in Washington State. Home to Puget Sound, the area is known for its abundance of arctic char, cod, clams, pollock, mussels, rockfish, salmon, spot prawns and trout. Tiny Fish Co. is also committed to sourcing ethically from local fisheries who can trace the vessels that harvest the fish.
Canned fish has a moment
During the pandemic, canned fish has enjoyed a renaissance with home cooks as a stable and easy-to-prepare pantry staple to incorporate into a healthy diet.
“Canned Fish Has a Moment” said Haumane. “The artistry behind the preservation techniques and even the design of cans and packaging seems to be increasing the widespread popularity of canned fish in the United States.”
Tiny Fish Co. products are packaged in cheerful pinks, yellows, blues and greens, popular with other recent sustainable canned fish launches, including Fishwife and Scout Cannery, which are also owned by women.
Spice up canned fish
Hauman admits she likes a can of smoked salmon with mayonnaise and crackers, but is inspired by more adventurous canning techniques after meeting some old-timers preservedthe traditions of the Spanish Basque region and the tasty canned seafood of Asian grocery stores.
“The fish was kept underground with chillies, fermented and dried with sugar and soy sauce, marinated and even salted, dried and coated in fat,” she explains.
“I want to embrace those traditions and put my own creative spin on what I think canned fish can be.” She opted to eschew traditionally high-salt profiles in favor of citrus, soy and spice.
Tiny Fish Co. launched online and in select Portland stores last month, starting with smoked Spanish-style mussels flavored with extra virgin olive oil, sherry, vinegar, paprika, cumin, coriander, fennel, garlic, onion, salt, oregano, citric acid. sour and natural smoke.
Coming soon with plans to expand retail locations nationwide: Redfish in Sweet Soy Sauce, Octopus in Lemon Butter and Dill, and Smoked Geoduck in Black Pepper.