The diabetic diet and tinned fish

Tinned fish isn’t bad for the diabetic diet. Fish basically is good, and some tinned fish is good too! Smoked fish is great as it keeps for a long time. Fresh fish can be frozen for use later. But tinned fish has a role too. However, it’s all about how it’s packed as part of the process can involve pressing out the natural oils, then storing it in oils full of omega 6 and not omega 3s, which means that your 3s are still being pushed out of your diet. So pick your tinned fish carefully. Other than that, it may come as a surprise what you can do with it beyond making tuna sarnies for lunch.

Bart van Olphen’s book, Cooking with Tinned Fish, combines recipes of tinned fish with fresh produce. He says, “Tinned fish is very versatile, especially when you’re aware of this rule of thumb: fish in water is best used in cold dishes and fish in oil can be used in both hot and cold dishes. This is because fish in water is drier than fish in oil and heat will further dry the fish. Lean fish, like tuna in water, go well with fatty products like mayonnaise and cheese. However, don’t be restricted by these rules. If you let your imagination run wild, you’ll doubtless create delicious recipes of your own, especially if you use seasonings like lemon, tomato and black and white pepper, which can really lift tinned fish.” He is aware, though, that “the quality of the oil used with tinned fish can vary wildly. If you have a good product and the oil smells and tastes good, you can use that oil from the tin in your dishes. If not, just drain the oil and use your own.”

Bart to start up his own company – Fish Tales – bringing sustainable fish to retailers, restaurants and other food industries. Fish Tales offers the tastiest tinned fish, smoked or fresh, caught by environmentally responsible fishermen. Every product and fisherman has a story, whether it’s Ali’s tuna, Dennis’ wild pink salmon, or Mariano’s anchovy fillets – they view the seas and oceans as a source of life. Book £12.99 from Pavillion books.

Smoked mackerel with braised leeks

25g/1oz pine nuts
4 medium-sized leeks, white base only
olive oil
100ml/3-fl oz/scant – cup
chicken stock
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tins of smoked mackerel fillets
(125g/4-oz per tin)
a few sprigs of tarragon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a frying pan and dry roast the pine nuts for a few minutes until
lightly browned. Set aside.
• Remove the outer leaves of the leeks. Rinse and remove any sand.
Cut the leeks in half and then cut in half lengthways.
• Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a frying pan. Turn the heat down
to low and place the leeks cut-side down in the oil.
• Add a splash of chicken stock and leave the leeks to cook gently for
about 15 minutes until they are tender when pierced with a sharp knife,
turning once during cooking.
• Put the vinegar, sunflower oil, mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl and
beat with a fork or whisk into a vinaigrette.
• Divide the leeks among four plates. Place the mackerel on top of the
leeks and spoon the vinaigrette over the dish.
• Garnish with pine nuts and tarragon leaves.

Sardines with burrata and roasted vegetables

Use the best-quality burrata, if you can, made with buffalo mozzarella
and cream. If you can’t get burrata, use buffalo mozzarella or ordinary

1 courgette, sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 aubergine, sliced
2 red onions, quartered
olive oil
1 soft chorizo (or a 10cm/4in piece of hard chorizo), cut into chunks
250g/9oz cherry tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 burrata or mozzarella, diced
or crumbled
2 tins of sardines in water or
olive oil (120g/4.oz each), drained
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges

• Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
• Drizzle all the vegetables with olive oil and roast for 20 minutes.
• Meanwhile, heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the chorizo
for a moment. Remove from the pan and drain half of the released oils.
Set the chorizo aside.
• Fry the tomatoes and chopped garlic in the fatty juices over a medium
heat until just softened.
• Remove the tomatoes from the heat and return the chorizo to the pan.
• Place the vegetables, tomatoes and chorizo on a large plate.
• Place the burrata or mozzarella on the vegetables.
• Season with sea salt and black pepper.
• Serve with the sardines and lemon wedges.

This news item first appeared in Desang Diabetes Magazine, our free-to-receive digital journal. We cover diabetes news, diabetes management equipment (diabetes kit) and news about food suitable for a diabetic diet. Go to the top of this page to sign up – we just need your email address.

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Desang Diabetes Magazine is our free-to-receive digital journal (see below). We cover diabetes news, diabetes management equipment (diabetes ‘kit’ such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring equipment) and news about food suitable for a diabetic diet including a regular Making Carbs Count column. We just need your email address to subscribe you (it really is free, and you can easily unsubscribe should you wish to).

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