Branzino Grigliato by IASA: Tinned Fish with Fresh-Grilled Flavor

I’ve been getting in the habit of scouting out tinned seafood when I’m out doing errands. This time I found a tin of grilled Italian branzino on a recent trip to a local organic grocery store. I have not sampled enough Italian brands of tinned fish so far. The bright yellow box was familiar to me from some online shops, but on the shelf it stood out from the other tinned fish with its larger size. It also usually sells for a few dollars more than the $9.99 I saw at the market. I impulsively grabbed a tin, assuming I won’t see IASA branzino for this price again.

About IASA

IASA stands for Ittica Alimentere Salerno, a family run company founded by Francesco di Mauro and today is based in Pellezzano Italy. They employ about 50 locals during the fishing season to produce traditional Italian seafood like jarred anchovies and yellowfin tuna loins. Although I have seen them listed for wholesale, I have not seen any of these products sold for retail thus far. Most online stores that I know who specialize in conservas only carry their tinned branzino.

For this particular product, IASA uses farmed Italian branzino, that is lightly grilled before being hand packed in olive oil. Their American importer states that it is all done in the fishermen tradition of grilling branzino with olive oil and some lemon juice. This was a standard way of grilling fish in my Sicilian-American family with mackerel, striped bass and with swordfish. I even got to experience this with fresh swordfish in Sicily. When the fish is good, this is really all it needs.

About IASA Tinned Branzino

tinned branzino

Upon opening I saw some nice looking sea bass that was lightly grilled and covered in a light oilive oil. IASA does not skimp on the oil as I a big mess when i cracked the seal. I was too busy cleaning up fish scented oil from my counter – before my wife or the cat found out – to take great pictures.

Mess aside, my first impression was a good one. Right out of the tin it tasted like freshly grilled fish. It was probably the closest thing to fresh fish I’ve ever tasted in a tin. The delicate fillets were moist and mild tasting with the look and texture of grilled sea bass. If i spent the time to warm up the tin before serving, it would have been even better. It had such a nice fresh flavor and was far better quality branzino than the frozen farmed fillets I got from Trader Joe’s.

I served the tinned branzino over a piece of Heidelberg brand sourdough toast with a sprinkle of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. Definitely made for a tasty snack and would be a welcome addition to my next Seacuterie bord.

The Verdict

tinned branzino tapas

Ten to twelve bucks is about mid-range for conservas these days, but I still expected something of good quality for that price. I was not disappointed in any way. It’s kind of remarkable just how fresh the IASA branzino tasted to me. There were no offensive, fishy odor and no off flavors. The only real giveaway that is was tinned and not fresh-grilled was the extra-delicate texture due to the canning process.

I will certainly buy this tin again. Next time I grab a tin I want to make a mini-entree by warming the tin first in hot water and having the branzino top some sauteed vegetables and rice. It is must for seafood appetizer or tapas and would also work great as a tuna substitute on summer salads. If you are curious about tinned fish, but sardines and mackerel scare you a bit, then try IASA for a nice mild tasting introduction.