Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jul 3, 2008 08:11 AM

How does one serve canned whale?

We've acquired some canned whale meat - so it's pre-cooked. Now we want to find out the best way of preparing it.
First thoughts were something like crabcakes - except surely this would resemble meat rather than fish.
A number of searches suggest it's similar to horse meat (which doesn't really help much).
Does anybody have any inspired ideas? Preferably from experience.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. Can't help much, but can't help sharing this as well...

      When I was about 8, my dad bought a can of whale (it wasn't long after he bought a can of chocolate covered ants...).
      Although everyone in my family tasted it, no one wanted to eat it. Everyone detested it, even good ol' dad.
      Not wanting to *totally* waste it, he plopped it into the dog's dish. Even the dog turned his nose up at it, a first!

      OK, I don't know what kind of can of whale that was, I hope yours is much better.

      1. How does one serve canned whale?
        Why on your very best Royal Doulton, of course. My dear.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Gio

          That's my favourite answer so far.

        2. First I have to ask, where did you find canned whale meat?

          I have only had raw whale meat, a very long time ago, partially frozen, lots of blubber. So this would be quite different than canned pre-cooked whale meat. It was served straight, as is the tradition, so it was a pure whale meat experience. I am glad I tried it, but I must admit I have not been actively seeking out another chance to partake.

          Re: Canned whale meat. The way I see it , you have 2 options. 1. Go for the straight on experience and eat it right out of the can, so you can experience whale meat first hand. 2. (my preferred option) Dress the stuff up as best as you can to make it as appetizing as any canned meat can be. The comparison to horse meat is reasonable, so anything you might use canned beef for should work. Dress it up in a vinaigrette for a meat based salad. Throw it into a soup or stew. Some kind of variation of chicken or canned ham salad? Filing for a savoury crepe could work, with a bechamel sauce.

          Good luck! I would not expect a culinary masterpiece. Have back up plans. Get really drunk first. And please please please! Post and let us know how it went! And if you can include pictures, that would be awesome!

          9 Replies
          1. re: moh

            It came directly from Japan - hand carried!
            It's Minke whale and there are two versions - one was boiled and the other roasted (both before canning).
            Having already eaten whale steak (which was similar in texture to tuna, but not in the slightest bit fishy - more like veal) I already know that I can grill a whale steak - but this 'preprocessed' version needs to be made as attractive as possible for the invitees. If we're going to eat it - let's at least make an effort to produce the best version we can.
            I thought about a pizza version - but what accompaniments.
            Hadn't thought of bechamel - but did think of some kind of burrito (I know - that would be better for horse!).
            And we do aspire to a masterpiece - to fail valiantly would be a disappointment, but we do want to make this as appetizing as possible - it's worth putting some effort into making it both tasty and memorable.

            1. re: estufarian

              Seriously now, I would poach the roasted in a teriyaki sauce and would quick broil the boiled, also with a thick teriyaki glaze. Slice both thinly and serve with Japanese rice and Japanese sides.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                I like Sam's riff on Japanese, seeing as how that is the origin of the meat. Teriyaki is a forgiving sauce, it makes many things edible and attractive, it'll give a nice colour to the meat. Since it is already cooked, I would be careful about overcooking it. The poaching method is fairly forgiving, as is the quick broil. Lots of ginger, ginger freshens up tastes and may help to hide the canned quality of the meat. Perhaps even serve some of the thin slices on sushi rice like you would eel.

                1. re: moh

                  Yes, Teriyaki seems a good start. But I think rice will make the dish visually pretty bland - brown & white. It needs some color. Root veggies aren't really in yet - although corn might work. Of course blue/green (mostly green) might suggest the ocean - but make the dish a bit too gimmicky. Any other thoughts?

                  1. re: estufarian

                    The "sides" mentioned included such stuff as grated daikon and carrot salad; blanched spinach salad; top the served fish with cut chives or thin bias sliced green onions; green and whitish cucumber salad; dish with ume; plus the whale can be served on a bed of beansprouts, thin strips of carrot, and snow peas!

                    We Japanese pay a lot af attention to presentation. The idea of serving brown and white would never, ever occur to us. I assumed that presentation was a given in my reply above.

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        Whale pot pie with a green salad

                        Baked Whale

                        As to presentation, there are some in this article that warns agains eating it.

                        "Dr. Payne, who has led over 100 expeditions to all oceans and studied every species of whale in the world, has warned that the highest concentration of endocrine disrupting compounds ever found in any animal came recently from a minke whale"

                        But I suppose it's like tuna ... as long as you don't eat it ever day ... or are pregnant ... or a kid ... or elderly.

                        This article, with no recipes but some ideas like curry, says Japan has whale trucks ... like taco trucs ... where you can buy whale boxed lunches

                        If you can read Japanese

                        The bigger question ... what is the correct drink pairing for whale?

                        1. re: rworange

                          Thanks - that's great! Hmm. Whale Bacon & Quail Eggs (where's Dr Seuss when you need him?)
                          I'm thinking of serving wines from the (Wh)Alexander Valley!

                          1. re: rworange

                            I ate canned whale often when I lived in Japan back in the 1960s. It was canned with a flavoring of sweetened soy sauce so I never tried to do anything other than open the can and eat it. I usually had it as a snack accompanied by either warmed sake or chilled beer depending on the season. I rather liked it.

              2. The original comment has been removed