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Spanish Genius for Canning

Eggplant...peppers...anchovies...eels...

America's canned food isn't anything to brag about. But the Spanish have a genius for canning, as well as pickling and bottling. The products are uniformly top-quality, made with excellent ingredients that are minimally processed and that taste fabulous even served on their own. Some of Spain's best choices include bite-size, piquant pickled eggplant (berenjenas de Almagro); tender, gently brined Manzanilla olives; and wood-roasted piquillo peppers, notably Dantza's meaty pimientos. But the country's best canned food is undoubtedly its seafood: luscious fatty tuna from the Basque region; plump anchovies, especially the slightly sweet and salty Santiago Aldaz brand; and baby eels, or angulas, which are impossibly tiny (Cata Gourmet's are subtly briny and particularly good). Most of these products are available at specialty food stores and some supermarkets around the country, or at tienda.com or spanishtable.com.

Published February 2005
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