Canned octopus in award-winning Bullwhip Kelp Hot Sauce is the newest product from the Wildfish Cannery in Klawock, on Prince of Wales Island, whose e-commerce clientele include gourmet food shops and foodies nationwide.
The first small batch, a limited release of several thousand cans, went on sale on Tuesday, June 15, and, when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Mathew Scaletta, owner of Wildfish Cannery, said he’s wanted to add a spiced octopus to the company’s offerings of gourmet seafood for years, but he knew they would need to work with another Alaska manufacturer who shared their values. Scaletta found that partner in Barnacle Foods in Juneau, which won the 2020 grand prize at the Alaska Symphony of Seafood with its kelp-based hot sauce.
“We said yes to working with Wildfish not only because of their track record for creating delicious artisanal products, but because we view the company as an ally in achieving our mission to harness the value of Alaska’s resources, create resiliency for coastal communities, and keep the health of our oceans a top priority amidst changing ocean climates,” said Lia Heifetz, co-owner of Barnacle Foods.
Wildfish Cannery’s cans of smoked octopus are already a big fan favorite. The new product skips the smoke in favor of a simple cure, then adds Bullwhip Kelp Hot Sauce.
Spiced octopus is already offered by some European producers, but none of it is Alaska octopus, and none of it features kelp in the ingredients list, said Scaletta, a professional chef who honed his skills earlier in Portland, Oregon, before returning to Klawock. “This product is not only the first tinned seafood and kelp collaboration in Alaska, but I haven’t seen anything like this available on the market, period,” he said.
“We’re always on the hunt for new flavors and new ingredients,” he said. “You can expect to see more small-batch, limited release products like this in the future. The exploration never stops.”
WIldfish Cannery, based in Klawock was founded in 1987 by Scaletta’s grandmother, uses only wild-caught, sustainable Alaska seafood harvested by fishermen and divers from their own community-based fisheries in their products. Tinned products available online include an array of seafood ranging from smoked sockeye, coho, pink and king salmon to smoked geoduck, herring and more.
Barnacle Foods, founded in 2016, produces a variety of kelp seafood seasonings, including BBQ sauce and salsas, as well as kelp dill pickles.