Nothing else polarizes eaters quite like anchovies. "I like them on Caesar salad, pizza or just crackers," said Maureen McCabe of Worthington. For her, the saltiness is the draw.
Nothing else polarizes eaters quite like anchovies.
"I like them on Caesar salad, pizza or just crackers," said Maureen McCabe of Worthington.
For her, the saltiness is the draw.
John McCauley doesn't agree.
"The initial saltiness I enjoy," said the North Side resident, 48."But the fishy aftertaste that follows ruins it."
He refuses to order a Caesar salad that contains anchovies.
Despite the culinary controversy, some dishes - including Caesar salad - aren't considered authentic without the briny fish.Canned anchovies or anchovy paste is mashed into the dressing, or Worcestershire sauce (made from anchovies) is whisked into it.
Anchovies also play a key role in other popular concoctions, such as pasta puttanesca and tapenade.
Without the fish, such dishes taste lackluster - and not just based on opinions.
Anchovies are packed with umami, a savory taste called the fifth flavor that the tongue detects - along with those deemed sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Other foods that rank high on the umami scale range from mushrooms to Parmesan cheese.
Just a bit of anchovies punches up the flavor of a bland sauce, soup or stew.
As a way to appease the people who say they don't like them, anchovies should be well-hidden among other flavors.They pair particularly well with olives, capers, tomatoes and garlic.Puttanesca sauce combines all of those ingredients into a thick and chunky topping for pasta. Tapenade grinds them into a paste for crackers or toasted bread slices.
The little fish is used in a multitude of other ways, too.
A single anchovy fillet - or even a portion of one - might be added with onions and garlic during the initial stage of cooking a long-simmered dish such as beef or lamb stew. Dissolved into the sauce, it should leave its complex flavor without a trace of fishiness.
Or, as an alternative, anchovy paste is more easily disguised in dips, salad dressings and deviled eggs.
For creating a variety of dishes, the anchovy represents a cook's secret weapon.