Why did The Wall Street Journal call us to help them school you about anchovies? Because there is nothing we believe in more than the power of a good anchovy. We take anchovies very seriously. We have done our anchovy research. We have even fished anchovies with the pros on the Amalfi coast.
Here’s the full article in The Wall Street Journal and here are some highlights:
” BEATRICE UGHI, president of the Italian import company Gustiamo, is pained by the idea that anyone would have to be persuaded to like anchovies. But she understands why. ‘It is because Americans are used to industrial anchovies,’ she said. “They’re right. They are awful.’
To convert people, Ms. Ughi sautés onions in olive oil and melts in a few quality anchovies—Gustiamo’s are cured in sea salt by a family-run outfit on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. She adds cauliflower, pine nuts and breadcrumbs and tosses in good pasta. It’s delicious—and it works.
Cooking with quality salt-cured anchovies often takes a dish from good to great. (I’m not talking about the fresh ones here, a whole other kettle of tasty fish and a subject for another article). They add meaty flavor and savory oomph to butter that’s melted on steak or rubbed under the skin of a chicken. They add depth to sauces—a simple garlic-and-oil or a classic tomato—and balance bitter vegetables like radicchio and broccoli rabe. To make a Caesar dressing without anchovies is to undermine the dressing’s genius…
Add a fillet or two to tomato sauce. You won’t know it’s there, apart from the fact that the sauce will have a deeper umami flavor.
Melt three or four anchovies in oil with garlic and crushed red pepper. The sauce is great over whole-wheat pasta tossed with sliced radishes or bitter greens and tuna.
Top bruschetta with a smear of ricotta, an anchovy and a dusting of lemon zest, or make a pissaladière, a French onion-anchovy tart.
The best anchovies generally come from the Mediterranean: southern Italy, the Basque region of Spain (where, in the 19th century, Sicilian immigrants brought their anchovy expertise)…
Ari Weinzweig, co-owner of Zingerman’s gourmet shop in Ann Arbor, Mich., likes Ortiz because its fish are caught and cured only in spring; fall anchovies have a different type of fat and don’t taste as good. Ortiz also makes sure the fish go straight from the water into a cure to preserve freshness. But there are great anchovies from Italy (Nettuno) and France (Roque) as well.
Serious anchovy-philes prefer whole fish packed in salt; they say it keeps the flavors pure…”