Anchovies

Anchovies – and their friends sardines and sprats – are little fish you can sometimes find fresh or frozen, but most often they live in steel tins in the canned fish aisle.

These little fish are often misjudged. 

What Is It?

Anchovies – and their friends sardines and sprats – are little fish you can sometimes find fresh or frozen, but most often they live in steel tins in the canned fish aisle, reviled by passersby who don’t understand them.

I know that people have had bad experiences and some can’t get past the thought of an oil-slicked fish sliding down their gullet, but tastes change over decades – and that’s not really how anyone eats them anyway.

What Do I Do With It?

Anchovies are less fishy than you’d imagine, exuding a saltier umami funk. Don’t try to eat one straight out of the can or even garnish your pizza with them – you may hate that, and it’s truly not the best use of anchovies. Instead, melt some butter into olive oil, add chopped garlic and slide your anchovies into the mix. Voilà! You have bagna càuda, an Italian sauce similar to fondue that you can serve with anything.

You can also whip up a classic Caesar dressing, add depth to creamy potato dishes with a few anchovies or use them as part of a wet rub for a leg of lamb, beef tenderloin, skillet rib eye or pork loin. Not only do anchovies add the salty hit that meat craves, but they crust up beautifully when seared.

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Shannon Weber is the creator, author and photographer behind the award-winning blogaperiodictableblog.com, and her work has appeared on websites such as Bon Appétit, Serious Eats and America’s Test Kitchen.

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