Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Flavor of the Week: Anchovies, Love Them or Leave Them?

People have a definite opinion about anchovies; 
they love them or hate them.  
These little saltwater fish are rich in Omega-3's, low in mercury, high in protein as well as vitamins and minerals, especially calcium.  They pack a flavorful punch and are an ingredient found abundantly in Mediterranean food.   Most commonly, anchovies are purchased either salt packed or oil packed and even more conveniently as a paste in a tube.  Of course anchovies are prepared and eaten fresh but for Flavor of the Week, I'm only looking at the preserved fish.
Bagna Cauda Sauce with grilled vegetables
Anchovies are used as a flavor ingredient in sauces and dressings.  They are usually mashed or cooked into a paste, not eaten as whole fillets.  If you aren't used to anchovies, start light and add more until the flavor is just right for you.  Anchovies will add a pungent, salty, sea flavor.  It is a good idea to rinse and pat dry the anchovies to reduce the salt and oil they were packed in.  When you need just a bit of anchovy flavor, use anchovy paste in a tube.  
Maitre d'Hotel Butter on steak
Anchovies are a key flavor in:

Radishes with anchovy butter  this recipe uses anchovy paste

Bagna Cauda Sauce       From The Union Square Cafe Cookbook
2 tablespoons minced shallots
16 anchovy fillets
1 13 teaspoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons Italian red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil.  Puree until the anchovies are completely smooth.  With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and mix until creamy.  If the sauce emulsifies to a mayonnaise consistency, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water so that it is pourable.
Serve at room temperature, drizzled over grilled or blanched vegetables, or as a dip for crudites.  Additionally, this makes a nice eggless version of Caesar dressing, and a tangy condiment for grilled fish or steak. 
serves 4-6 (I halved the recipe)

This Martha Stewart recipe would be a fine first try at using Anchovies.
Romaine Salad with Anchovy Dressing 

So do you love them?
 or will you leave them?


  1. i'm learning so much from these posts. thanks!

  2. I love anchovies. I can never find the salted ones.


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