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Everyday Food: Anchovies don’t always have to make strong statement

03/18/2014 12:00 AM

03/21/2014 3:54 PM

Although small in size, these little fish add big flavor to plenty of dishes. They can be a polarizing ingredient; if you think you’re not a fan, give anchovies another chance.

They may be known for their distinctive, salty kick, but anchovies can also be a subtle flavor-enhancer if used sparingly. They contribute umami — the fifth, savory taste, along with bitter, sweet, salty and sour — which makes them an ideal secret ingredient for rich, delicious meals.

Anchovies are commonly found in small tins or jars; look for them in the canned-food aisle alongside the tuna, salmon and sardines. Unopened, a tin of anchovies will last about a year. Once opened, refrigerate the fillets in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

People who are already anchovy enthusiasts may enjoy the fish tossed into salads, laid on pizza or toast, or rolled around an olive or a cube of cheese. Even picky eaters, or those who think they’re anchovy-averse, will appreciate the depth anchovies can add to food without tasting a bit fishy. Try chopping up a few fillets to stir into sauces, dressings and dips — their bold flavor will mellow and the results will be mouthwatering.

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