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.
Anchovy potato salad
The mayonnaise in this potato salad gets a boost from anchovies. Refrigerate extra mayo in an airtight container, up to 5 days. Try it on sandwiches or with french fries.
• 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
• Coarse salt
• 1 large celery stalk, diced small
• 2 scallions, chopped
• 2 large hard-cooked eggs, chopped
• 1 cup spicy anchovy mayonnaise (see recipe below)
1. In a medium pot, bring potatoes to a boil in salted water over high heat. Reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and let cool, about 30 minutes. Stir in celery, scallions, eggs and mayonnaise and season with salt. (To store, cover and refrigerate, up to 3 days.)
Nutritional information per serving: 437 calories, 31 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat), 31 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, 64 percent of calories from fat.
Spicy anchovy mayonnaise
Combine 2 cups mayonnaise, 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes and 14 to 16 anchovy fillets, finely chopped.
Spaghetti with tomato-anchovy sauce
For a stronger anchovy taste, use the oil from the tin in place of some of the olive oil.
• 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 14 to 16 anchovy fillets, chopped
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 3/4 pound spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions and drained
• Grated Parmesan
1. In a blender or food processor, puree tomatoes with their juices until smooth. In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and anchovies and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Add spaghetti, toss to combine and serve sprinkled with Parmesan.
Nutritional information per serving (without Parmesan): 495 calories, 12 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat), 73 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 5 grams fiber, 22 percent of calories from fat.
Rosemary-anchovy pork chops
Rosemary is a perfect match for anchovies in this marinade, which also works well on lamb chops or steak. Serve with couscous and roasted vegetables.
• 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
• 6 garlic cloves, minced
• 14 to 16 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 4 bone-in pork chops (1 inch thick; 2 pounds total)
1. In a large bowl, whisk together rosemary, garlic, anchovies, oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Coat pork in rosemary mixture and let stand 15 minutes.
2. Heat broiler. Place pork on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until browned at edges and cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes, flipping once.
Nutritional information per serving: 485 calories, 34 grams fat (9 grams saturated fat), 2 grams carbohydrates, 39 grams protein, 1 gram fiber, 63 percent of calories from fat.
Caesar salad dressing
Makes 1 cup
Roughly chop 2 garlic cloves and 4 to 5 anchovy fillets; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and drag the blade of a large knife at an angle across mixture until a paste forms. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Whisk in 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil. (To store, refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 3 days.)
Nutritional information per 2-tablespoon serving: 210 calories, 22 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat), 1 gram carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 0 grams fiber, 94 percent of calories from fat.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
In a small saucepan, bring 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup whole milk, 12 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled, and 16 anchovy fillets to a simmer over medium heat; cook until garlic is tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and add 4 cups packed fresh parsley (from 2 bunches). Pulse until smooth; season with ground pepper and 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice. (To store, cover and refrigerate, up to 3 days.)
Nutritional information per 1/4 cup: 282 calories, 26 grams fat (4 grams saturated fat), 6 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, 83 percent of calories from fat.