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Old 04-23-2016, 11:05 AM   #1
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Anchovies as flavour enhancer

Reference Caesar salad and the use of anchovies as a flavour enhancer.

These, as we all know,are frequently used as flavour enhancers, that 'je ne sais quoi' that makes your sauces taste appetising. In Italy, we use them all the time, and they are also a major part in Provencal dishes in France as well as in the Italian Riviera, where anchovies are used in 'La Sardenaiera', a kind of pizza featuring tomatoes, anchovies and locally grown olives (olive Taggiasche). In France, a popular dish is 'l'anchoiade', a pizza bianca (pizza bianca is a pizza without tomatoes) consisting of onions, garlic, olives and anchovies. All over Italy anchovies are used in fish dishes, meat dishes, antipasti, and hundreds of dishes where their presence gives an extra zoom to the flavour. Where I live, we make an anchovy dip called 'Bagna Cauda', a dish of anchovies, garlic and butter all melted together, which is a dip for raw vegetables. Do you use them like this in the USA? I would be very curious to know!

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Old 04-23-2016, 11:31 AM   #2
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Years ago I read an article where professional chef's disclosed their secret ingredient. Anchovies was on top of the list. I don't think very many home cooks use them, though. I never see them called for in recipes. I make a chicken thigh and tomato stew that calls for anchovies, but it's from an Italian cookbook.

Here's an article from Chowhound:

The Secret Ingredient Every Chef Uses - Chowhound
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Old 04-23-2016, 11:59 AM   #3
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Anchovies are one of several "secret ingredients" that boost flavors. Of course, MSG and ingredients that contain it, soy sauce, mushrooms, tomato/paste, worcestershire sauce.
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Old 04-23-2016, 12:10 PM   #4
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Interesting info Di, and I can't think of a typical American dish that calls for anchovies.
I'd agree with the first statement in that piece 10 speed...
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There are those who love anchovies, those who hate anchovies, and those who only think they hate anchovies.
I personally don't use them often unless called for in a recipe. Anchovy paste in a tube is very handy. Most times you don't know the flavor is even there, only that hmmm factor of tasty. I'm one who likes some discreet anchovy bits on my pizza, or even in salads.
I wouldn't just pop one in my mouth for a snack though.
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Old 04-23-2016, 04:03 PM   #5
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I use anchovy paste in all my oil and vinegar salad dressings. Especially good in a cabbage and carrot salad (AKA No Mayo Cole slaw). I love chopped anchovies in my Caesar salad and whole filets on my Greek salad and antipasto. I make an olive salad with chopped filets also. My Uncle LOVED my olive salad BUT the man who says he will Never eat fish not even canned tuna could tell anchovies were in it. LOL

Oh btw I also like to add green olive paste to my oil and vinegar dressings.
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Old 04-23-2016, 04:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by msmofet View Post
I use anchovy paste in all my oil and vinegar salad dressings. Especially good in a cabbage and carrot salad (AKA No Mayo Cole slaw). I love chopped anchovies in my Caesar salad and whole filets on my Greek salad and antipasto. I make an olive salad with chopped filets also. My Uncle LOVED my olive salad BUT the man who says he will Never eat fish not even canned tuna could tell anchovies were in it. LOL

Oh btw I also like to add green olive paste to my oil and vinegar dressings.
Good example of "and those who only think they hate anchovies."
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Old 04-23-2016, 04:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Good example of "and those who only think they hate anchovies."
LOL Yup!!
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Old 04-23-2016, 04:39 PM   #8
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I'll eat the salty little flavorful buggers right out of the can if I have one lying around. I use them in everything I sounds like it could use them. If I don't use the rest of the can I get to eat them up later.
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Old 04-23-2016, 08:58 PM   #9
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We have an old Italian Restaurant here about three minutes from my home. The first time my girlfriend and I ordered an antipasti salad, they sent it out with anchovies on it. We were going to send it back, but decided to try it. Those little buggers were so salty, we could not finish any of the salad that was under them. I used to keep a tube of the paste on hand when I made my own Sunday gravy. But now I no longer make it and haven't had pasta in the house now for at least five months.

I now only go to this restaurant maybe twice a year with my daughter and her husband. They have never been fans of an antipasti salad and they are just too big for me to eat by myself. But if the occasion ever arises again where I do order one, I will emphasize "very emphatically, no anchovies."
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Old 04-24-2016, 08:29 AM   #10
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I use anchovy paste and anchovies all the time in gravies, sauces, soups and other things. I don't use recipes very often, but I use a lot of anchovies. I also use a lot of miso and fish sauce for the umani they bring to a dish.
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:09 AM   #11
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I love bagna cauda. It is an anchovie and garlic based warm sauce you can dip just about anything in..
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:10 AM   #12
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I have a great recipe - called Marinara Sauce (but a variation on this) - that uses anchovy fillets in its tomato sauce base.

Essentially it is a tomato sauce made with finely chopped onion and celery along with the tomatoes. To this is added finely chopped anchovies. It is then simmered for about 30 mins. The anchovies dissolve but they impart a fantastic flavour!

Of course, there is the more obvious anchovy butter (made with some lemon juice). Great on toast or with fish.
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Old 04-25-2016, 03:39 PM   #13
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I have to hide the use of anchovies and anchovy paste from my family... Salad dressing. Most interesting use is in a soup recipe by Mario Batali - Escarole , Onion and Carrot Soup. The other notable use is in a recipe for slow cooked leg of lamb where you make rub/smear of garlic, anchovy and rosemary, from an old Jacques Pepin book.
Yeah... most of the use in my kitchen for anchovies and anchovy paste is in French and Italian style recipes.
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Old 04-25-2016, 05:40 PM   #14
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Does a tube of anchovy paste have a relatively long fridge life, or does it need to be used up quickly?
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Old 04-25-2016, 05:51 PM   #15
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Anchovies as flavour enhancer

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Originally Posted by Cheryl J View Post
Does a tube of anchovy paste have a relatively long fridge life, or does it need to be used up quickly?

I think it lasts a long time, Cheryl. I just checked my tube, and there was no "best by" or "use by" date. You just have to refrigerate after opening.
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Old 04-25-2016, 06:39 PM   #16
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Thank you, Dawg. Sounds like it'll work for a one-person household. I recently used up the last of the marinara sauce to keep on hand in the freezer and need to make some more - a little anchovy paste would be a lovely addition. I've also had it in salad dressings and love it.
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:40 PM   #17
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Many moons ago when we first arrived in Menorca we went to the big food market in Mahon to stock up on essentials. The fish stalls had fresh anchovies. This being the 1970s none of us had eaten anchovies before so we bought some as they were dirt cheap.

Not being very well up on metric measurements back then, we bought a kilo. There were thousands of the little beasts and only 4 humans (one of whom didn't eat fish). After we had stuffed ourselves silly we still had mountains of the things. What to do?

The problem was solved by a local stray cat who was still feeding new-born kittens. She was very thin - she wasn't by the time she had made several visits to solve our anchovy problem! By the time we moved on she was looking very sleek and silky as did the kittens which she brought to show us.
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Old 06-23-2016, 06:53 PM   #18
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Anchovies: subversive agents

Sssh! I slip anchovies in everywhere, including desserts. I slip them into the pizza sauce I'm making so that "anchovy haters" can taste a proper pizza for the first time. (So sue me :-)

I used to do fisheries research on the Hudson River, and we'd haul up thousands of anchovies (native in the tidal part of the river). They are so fragile that they invariably die. They're delicious! Their shelf-life is about eight hours, is why you they're never sold raw, but treat them like smelt if you ever luck into some.
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