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Yes, You Can Serve Canned Food With Wine. Here's How

It’s no question that in the United States we turn our noses up at canned fish. But the East Village restaurant Maiden Lane, which imports smoked and cured seafood from as far as Spain, Portugal, and Iceland, celebrates the European tradition of canned fish, bringing the old-world delicacy to New York. One of the restaurant owners, Nialls Fallon, shares his favorite picks and their drink pairings.

By Molly Elizalde, CNTraveler.com

Yes, You Can Serve Canned Food With Wine. Here's How

Our appetite for canned food was whetted when we visited the year-old restaurant Maiden Lane in Manhattan’s East Village for our August issue of Traveler.  At Maiden Lane, there is no kitchen—and much of the seafood comes from family-owned canneries across Europe. ML co-owner Nialls Fallon talks us through the perfect wine pairings for all those razor clams, cockles, and anchovies.

PHOTO: MATTHEW HRANEK

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THE CAN: Conservas de Cambados Cockles in Brine from Spain

THE DRINK: 2012 Bisson Vermentino Vignaerta from Liguria Italy

“These briny oceany cockles from Spain alongside this Italian coastal Vermentino are an exercise in sailing the Mediterranean. Think salty water in your face and a dry wind sweeping your hair.”

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THE CAN: Conservas de Cambados Razor Clams in Brine from Spain

THE DRINK: 2011 I Custodi Calicante blend from Sicily, Italy

“These meaty, slightly fruity razor clams packed in brine mix perfectly with the volcanic island whites of Mount Etna.”

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THE CAN: Jose Gourmet Mackerel in Oil from Portugal

THE DRINK: NV Franck Peillot Montagnieu Brut from Bugey, France

“These cans were meant to travel. Take an Alpine trip with this tin and get a fresh, uplifting palate cleanse from the bright, bubbly Bugey Montagnieu from the French Alps to balance the sweet, soft mackerel meat.”

See Also: The Strange Reason Airplane Food Tastes So Bad

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THE CAN: Great King Cod Liver in Cod Oil from Iceland

THE DRINK: Evil Twin Low Life Pilsner from Brooklyn, NY

“This rich, buttery cod liver from Iceland is our low brow can that packs a punch. Pair with a light, fresh, summery beer like Evil Twin Pilsner.”

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THE CAN: 2013 Vintage Mouettes d’Arvor Sardines in Oil from France

THE DRINK: 2010 Thivin Beaujolais Blanc from Beaujolais, France

“These limited-run vintage sardines from France with an earthy finish pair perfectly with the Beaujolais Blanc or any other fresh and young white Burgundies. These sardines are only caught a few months out of the year and simply need a thirst quencher with depth and character.”

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THE CAN: Jose Gourmet Sardines in Spiced Oil from Portugal

THE DRINK: Gutierrez Colosia Sangre y Trabajadero Oloroso from Jerez, Spain

“These small sardines from Portugal are packed in oil spiced with cloves and other warm spices. A rich nutty Oloroso from Gutierrez is the perfect match to hit the high spice notes.”

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THE CAN: Don Bocarte Anchovies in Olive Oil from Spain

THE DRINK: 2004 Recaredo Gran Reserva Brut de Brut Cava from Penedes, Spain

“The best salt-cured anchovies in the world, hands down, packed in olive oil deserve the best cava in the world. Buttery salty and smooth anchovies pair beautifully with this single vineyard, vintage cava.”

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THE CAN: Ramon Pena Octopus in Paprika Sauce from Spain

THE DRINK: 1998 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Blanco from Rioja, Spain

“The sweet carmelized onions packed with tender octopus in a fragrant paprika sauce are highlighted by the slightly oxidized and fresh, herbaceauous notes from the Tondonia vineyard site.”

See Also: America’s Best Sandwiches 

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THE CAN: Ramon Pena Mussels in Escabeche from Spain

THE DRINK: Buil and Giné Vermut from Priorat, Spain, on the rocks with an orange twist

“These rich, creamy mussels of your dreams bode well with an edgy sidekick like the Buil and Giné Vermut on the rocks with a twist.”

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THE CAN: Conservas de Cambados Scallops in Galician Sauce from Spain

THE DRINK: 2007 Nusserhof Lagrein from Alto Adige, Italy

“Baby scallops are an unlikely pair for a red wine. However, given their warm, smoky, and meaty flavor, they are a great match with a cold climate northern Italian red like the high acid and bacon rich reds of Nusserhof.”

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THE CAN: Jose Gourmet Squid in Ragout in Portugal

THE DRINK: NV Saint-Chamant Rosé Brut Champagne from Champagne, France

“These hand-packed squid in a red wine ragout sauce beg for some bubbles to cleanse your palate. The Saint-Chamant is a slightly oxidized rose champagne that elevates this tin from a light snack to a luxurious meal.”

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