The Absolute Best Bread For Canned Fish Toast, According To Chefs

Canned fish toast is basically just that: canned fish on a piece of toast. The appeal of this humble dish is that it's both simple and cheap. When you want something to eat that's filling, easy, and can be made with ingredients you can often find at your local dollar store, you turn to a tin of your favorite fish on a hunk of toast. 

The basic nature of this appetizer (or meal) hasn't stopped people from experimenting with different approaches to seafood on bread. You could add garlic and red chili to complement the salty, briny flavor of the fish, or you could stir in tomatoes and sweet onions for a more refreshing bite. You're also free to explore different types of fish, whether it's mackerel, sardines, or salmon. So long as you have fish and toast, you're already halfway to making a good satisfying snack to serve for any occasion. 

But what about the bread? Although any ol' white bread will taste good when toasted and slathered with tuna or salmon, some camps believe you should explore different types of bread options for this fish-based food.

Buttered sourdough is always a safe bet

"Canned fish is incredibly underrated and underestimated," Paul Donnelly told Food & Wine. The executive chef of Chinese Tuxedo in New York City elaborated that one of his "favorite things to eat on God's green Earth" is Ortiz-brand anchovies smothered on top of "heavily buttered, toasted sourdough." Finished with watercress, parsley, and pickled onions, it's a snack he says is ideal no matter what time it is. 

But what makes sourdough a better choice than other bread for your tinned fish toast? Unlike sweeter, slightly buttery white sandwich bread, sourdough has a tangy taste thanks to its unique incorporation of fermented yeast, which makes for an interesting combination with zingy, highly aromatic canned fish. Sourdough also has a crustier texture than other loaves, which helps it stand up to toppings. Not only that, but sourdough is also hailed as being a "healthier" alternative to white bread due to its digestion-assisting properties and high lactic acid content (via Insider). But if your bakery is fresh out of this trendy bread variety, you've got another option.

You can also use rye bread

If you don't happen to have sourdough or perhaps just don't like the taste of it, then you could also use rye bread. Scandinavians often enjoy this dark-hued bread with smoked, cured, or pickled fish, and you can channel these countries' cuisines by whipping up a slice of rye with salmon, cream cheese, red onions, and dill. Chef José Pizarro even makes a Reuben sandwich on rye, per The Guardian, using sardines instead of the traditional corned beef. But what exactly separates rye bread from sourdough? Rye bread lacks the intensely tangy flavor of sourdough, and it has a much earthier, nuttier taste instead. And, of course, rye bread is prepared using rye grains.

Rye bread is also very popular choice with seafood in some places closer to home, such as Wisconsin. As the story goes, the tradition of a fish fry took root in Milwaukee thanks to taverns, which served fried fish and beer as a way to circumvent the laws of Prohibition. At these dinners, not only would booze and seafood be served, but so would cabbage, potatoes, and rye bread, as these were some of the cheapest ingredients necessary to make a full fish dinner.