Fishwife's Smoked Salmon Is Our New Pantry Staple Crush
Fishwife is making waves in the tinned fish world with a stylish, meal-ready lineup whose sourcing you can feel good about: smoked albacore tuna hook-and-line caught off the Pacific Coast; smoked rainbow trout responsibly-raised in Idaho; and a summertime batch of lemon-y sardines we advise you snap up while they last. Today, smoked salmon, sourced from the third-generation Atlantic salmon farmers of Kvarøy Arctic, joins the core lineup.
Born during the pandemic, the cool-kid on the block seafood company was founded by former music marketing director Becca Millstein and television writer, podcaster, and comedian Caroline Goldfarb–friends looking to get creative with their weekly menu while working from home. "I'm not a big order-out person personally, so we really had to think ahead and plan out what we were eating," remembers Millstein of early lockdown days. "We fell into eating tinned seafood on a very regular basis."
Tinned fish presented somewhat of a silver-bullet grocery item while the duo endeavored to space out their trips to market: a shelf-stable, affordable protein with the gumption to dress up anything from a chic snack plate to a lemon-y, seasonal veggie couscous.
Millstein and Goldfarb took inspiration from European conservas culture, gleaned from romps around Spain and Portugal. "That was the first time I had the experience of encountering how another culture approached tinned fish, and was totally mystified. I thought it was so beautiful and artful," says Millstein of the over-centuries-old canned fish tradition.
The "fishwife" moniker itself dates back to the 16th century, gesturing towards the mouthy wives and daughters of fishermen hawking their perishable wares at market. Two "brassy, sassy ladies" themselves, the name fit naturally, says Millstein. The team tuned into a growing awareness of, and hankering for, tinned seafood, while eager to support sustainable aquaculture, small boat fisherfolks, and microcanneries along the way.
"We landed with a wonderful, small mom-and-pop cannery in Oregon to work on the smoked tuna, which is hook and line caught by small boat fishermen along the Pacific Coast," Millstein reflects on the development of the first product: a thick, brine-y tuna–the affectionately-referenced tinned fish "gateway drug." Fishwife's tuna is caught in a well-managed fishery, meaning the fish populations are plentiful, not overfished, and hand-packed into single-serving cans. The artfully-designed boxes, whose colors you can spot across a room, are brought to life by LA-based illustrator Danny Miller.
The lush, subtly-sweet smoked rainbow trout is farmed in comparably pristine waters: "The trout farm is positioned in a valley cut through by an aquifer. Waterfalls bursting from the mountainside keep the fish's environment clean, and provide hydroelectric power. It's a win-win," says Millstein of the company's trout farming partners in Idaho.
It comes as no surprise, then, that Fishwife's newest launch, smoked Atlantic salmon brined in extra-virgin olive oil, garlic-y salt, and brown sugar smoked in small batches over a mix of beech, maple, and birch wood, also comes from an incredibly transparent, well-decorated fishing source.
Kvarøy Arctic is a third-generation, family-owned Atlantic salmon farm nestled in Norway's icy Arctic Circle. It is the first finfish farm to carry the Fair Trade USA seal, as well as a number of other certifications spanning sustainability efforts in farming, supply chain, health of the salmon, nutrition, and wellness of the team working on the farm.
The farm is located on Kvarøy island, "which has no roads, no cars, and about 90 residents in the community who are largely employed by the fish farm and have been for generations, which truly makes this a community endeavor," says Jennifer Bushman, Strategic Development Officer for Kvarøy Arctic.
"We love this partnership because it helps to demystify the tinned seafood purchase. Fishwife has been incredible in their willingness to call out and support our farm in an effort to educate and bring traceability directly to the consumer," says Bushman.
Stock up on the smoked Atlantic salmon tins (3.5 oz) at eatfishwife.com ($32.99 for a pack of 3), or pick up individual boxes (from $12.99) in retailers in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and more. Follow all of the fishy goings-on at @fishwife.
Lemony Fishwife Smoked Salmon Risotto
Recipe by Spencre McGowan
- 1 ½ cups arborio rice
- 1 3.5-ounce can Fishwife smoked salmon
- 5 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped small
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan (plus more for serving)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest for serving
- Fresh dill for serving
- In a medium pot, bring broth to a light simmer over low heat.
- In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat. Add onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and thyme sprigs and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the rice to the onions and garlic, stirring continuously for 4-5 minutes, until the rice is lightly toasted.
- Add the wine to rice and onions. Cook until evaporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Reduce the heat to medium and slowly add broth to the rice, about 1 cup at a time. Stir continuously until the broth has been absorbed. Repeat with remaining broth, adding 1 cup at a time until broth has absorbed and rice is al dente, 20-25 minutes.
- Add the remaining butter, lemon juice and parmesan to the rice, stirring to combine. Reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, until the risotto is creamy, but still firm. Taste as you go, seasoning with salt as desired.
- Add Fishwife's smoked salmon to the pan and mix it into the risotto. Remove from heat and serve warm. Garnish with lemon zest, parmesan and fresh dill.