7/21/10

Anchovies: Love them or Hate them?

Anchovies.

The word itself freaks me out. I know some people are huge fans of adding anchovies on top of pizzas, inside their sandwiches, in sauces and in pasta dishes. I, on the other hand, want to stay as far away from these little tiny fish with bones as possible.

So far, I've been quite successful in my avoidance of anchovies....that is until Robyn Webb emailed me a recipe for Linguine with black olives, capers and walnuts. I am, after all, her Senior Editor: I prepare the food, take photos and post her write ups.

I went to the store and bought a jar of anchovies. I opened the jar and smelled the fishiness (my face is scrunched up as I write this); I then accidentally spilled some of the oil on my kitchen counter, and then finally, bravely, but squeamishly, reached into the jar with a fork to take out a few of the anchovies filets.

Look at them! How can anyone want to eat these, I wonder?



But I had to proceed with the recipe. I chopped black olives, parsley and walnuts. I infused the olive oil with the garlic, then added walnuts and toasted them. In went the capers and olives, then parsley and some of the pasta water. So far, so good.

But then the crucial step: adding the anchovies, which have been finely chopped. Magically, they disappeared in the sauce: they literally melted in with the other flavors. The smell, of anchovies, either real or imaginary (in my head!), remained.

After cooking and adding the linguine, I added the pasta into the sauce and incorporated all the ingredients. I even tasted the dish: not bad at all. But if I make this again, I would definitely leave out the little fishy, bony anchovies filets.



It's your turn: do you love or hate anchovies? And if you ♥ them, how do you use them?

16 comments:

lisaiscooking said...

I've come to love them! I love how they can melt into a dish like this, and I love whole fillets on top of pizza and crostini and salade nicoise. I've been using salt-packed ones lately that have great flavor although require a little more work before using them.

FrenchTwistDC said...

I am one of these people who puts anchovies on her pizza (with black olives... it's a salt fest). But I do want to say that there's more to anchovies than the canned/jar type. Try fresh anchovies. I love love love the Boquerones en Vinagre from La Tasca. Fresh unsalted anchovies marinated in garlic and olive oil. Delicious. Jaleo used to have a tasty anchovie tapas but I haven't seen it on the menu lately :(

Liz the Chef said...

I am slow to come to try to like them - help?

Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog said...

Definitively love anchovies - great on pizzas, but I know don't look fine...
I didn’t try them on desserts ;)

Cheers,

Gera

Karena said...

I lovelovelove anchovies and sneak them in whenever possible. I love the briny, complex flavor they add to dishes! Usually I'll chop some up with garlic in pasta, sometimes I'll mix it up in a cream sauce. I like mixing them in with dark, leafy greens and you bet I'll take them on a pizza!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Love 'em but not crazy about how they look, so I prefer it when they are minced into teeny bits and put into pasta like you did.
Your recipe sounds absolutely delicious.
*kisses* HH

Evan Halperin said...

I LOVE anchovies. On pizza is great, but I like fresh anchovies in a pasta dish or just as an appetizer with some toast points and salad and a dressing

sarah said...

I would like to like them! As a stepping stone I use anchovy paste, for example, in Caesar salad dressing. I know that this is yummy and it has helped my view of anchovies. :)

Fernando said...

When I was a teenager, I used to have a saying: I'll eat anything except olives and anchovies. When I discovered Kalamata olives I scratched that off my list and started to taste all different kinds of olives. Now I can't get enough of them (even though I still won't eat those pimento-stuffed ones out of a jar unless they're in a complex dish).

The same happened with anchovies. I went to Spain with my then-GF (now my wife) and we were served boquerones en salsa and I absolutely fell in love. I've since learned a few tricks on hiding them in dishes (such as frying them in the oil you're going to use in a dish before adding any other ingredients). They're great in tomato sauces, tapenades, and salad dressings (BTW, the original Caesar dressing is made with anchovies). I don't care for them on pizza, tho, as they tend to be too salty.

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pigpigscorner said...

I love em! on Pizzas, in pasta..yum!

Koek! said...

Love anchovies. Love this recipe! Thanks - pasta can really be poetry when you find a good recipe.
Robyn

Anonymous said...

Definately try the anchovy paste. I can't say that I love anchovies either, but I adore Smitten Kitchen's recipe for Puttanesca, which calls for a little squeeze of anchovy paste out of the tube. I also stuck it into some pesto recently and it added a lot of depth to the flavor. No bones in there either!

FOODalogue said...

LUV EM! This dish is a perfect example of how they can be integrated into many recipes. They add a nutty, salty and non-fishy flavor.

FOODalogue said...

I had to come back and comment again when i saw your prior post about Med. vegetables because that would be a perfect place to use anchovies. I use them all the time in caponata.

Paige said...

I've only used canned anchovies in pastas -- recipes similar to the one you tried. I, too, was pleasantly surprised because they did "disappear" into the sauce. I didn't tell my boyfriend I'd included anchovies and he couldn't even tell. I do think they add a salty richness, which I enjoy.

I also really love fresh grilled anchovies. I've only had them in restaurants, but I should be adventurous and try making them at home. I highly recommend!

MellaMella said...

Love them!! My favorite way to eat the ones form the jar is on a pizza alongside minced garlic and kalamata olives (olive oil, but no sauce, and a few gratings of Parmesan after its done), but mashing one up with a fork and adding it to just about anything improves the flavor. Every few years I go through a Caesar salad phase, too.

If you ever get the chance to try the fresh ones at a tapas or mezze-style restaurant - do!