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Anchovy Eaters - Beginner to Advanced

Food Fitness to Nourish Your Body

In small and medium amounts, anchovies can enhance the flavor of a dish. Often, they can be included in a way that even anchovy haters find both tasty and agreeable.


The key to understanding anchovy flavoring is to realize the presence of anchovies in food can range dramatically, from subtle to intense. Small amounts can add a pleasant flavor whereas large amounts, when mixed with other ingredients, do not have to add a strong, fishy, overpowering taste. Rather, they can make a dish tastier.

Following are several anchovy recipes. There are three categories: beginner anchovy eaters not familiar with them, intermediate anchovy eaters who enjoy their flavor and have acquired a taste for them and advanced for those who are all-out anchovy fans. The first group of recipes is unlikely to seem even the slightest bit fishy. The second group has a series of pleasantly elusive flavors that work well together. The advanced group has anchovies written all over them.

Getting Started with Anchovies: Beginner's Group

Lipto Cheese Spread

Liptauer This is a classic Hungarian cheese spread made from Lipto, a sheep's-milk cheese. In Austria, this cheese spread called Liptauer. Sheep's milk is very difficult to find so that in its place is cream cheese, a very suitable substitute. Serve this dish with crackers, crusty bread, toast points or vegetables.

8 ounces cream cheese or 4 ounces cream cheese and 4 ounces goat cheese, at room temp
Six tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon crushed caraway seeds
1/2 medium onion, grated or finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon capers (optional)

In a large bowl, using wooden spoon, thoroughly combine cheese and butter. Add paprika, mustard, caraway seeds, onion, anchovy paste and capers if using, and mix until thoroughly combined, being sure that the paprika gets evenly distributed throughout.
Transfer mixture to serving bowl or crock. Cover and refrigerate at least one day to allow flavors to meld.
Recipe makes about 1-1/2 cups.

Potato Soup with Roasted Garlic and Anchovies
This soup is light and simple. It features a mellow flavor of roasted garlic.

Soup Clip art 4 to 5 bulbs garlic (about 35 cloves) not separated or peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
5 cups water
1 large onion, quartered
2 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1-1/2 pounds potatoes, not peeled, washed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon salt
6 anchovy fillets, drained and minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Trim and discard tip from each bulb of garlic. Place bulbs on plate and microwave on high power five minutes. Carefully pop individual cloves out of their skins and place peeled cloves in small bowl. Drizzle with one-tablespoon oil and stir to coat. Transfer cloves to baking sheet, making sure cloves do not touch.
Bake at 375-degrees just until golden and softened, ten to fifteen minutes. Do not let cloves brown. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a stock- pot, bring water, onion, carrots, potatoes and salt to a boil and cook until carrots and potatoes are soft, fifteen minutes. Add roasted garlic and its oil to stock- pot. Add anchovies and cook, stirring constantly, until anchovies dissolve. Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
While soup is still in the pot, use potato masher to mash mixture. Do not use a food processor, as finished soup should have plenty of texture. Add pepper and remaining two tablespoons olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Recipe makes four to six servings.

Spaghetti Puttanesca
This is a classic Italian pasta sauce. This sauce will persuade those who avoid anchovies that they are actually good!

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 can (2 ounces) anchovy fillets, do not drain
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
One can of (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, with their juices
1 jar (2-1/2 ounces) capers, drained
1 -1/2 cups pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
12 ounces spaghetti
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet over low heat, heat the oil, anchovies and garlic. Using a fork, mash mixture into a paste. Add tomatoes and their juices, capers and olives. Increase the heat to medium and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
Season sauce with pepper to taste. Drain pasta and add the sauce. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Recipe makes four servings.

Great Flavor! What is it? Intermediate Group

In each of these dishes, there is a variety of flavors to result in no specific ingredient dominating the flavor of the finished product.

Creamy Bagna Cauda
Dipping sauce This is a rich, intensely flavored creamy dipping sauce. You would serve this sauce warm with fresh vegetables and chunks of bread for dipping. The name stems from the Italian bagna cauda, or "hot bath". Serve it with green onions, colorful bell peppers, fennel, mushrooms, carrots, radishes and sugar-snap peas. There is a tradition with bagna. You use a piece of bread to catch any sauce that drips as vegetables travel from the pot. You then eat the bread when it has plenty of delicious drippings on it. Another tradition is to use leftover sauce to make flavorful scrambled eggs.

4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup whipping cream, divided
1 can (2 ounces) anchovy fillets, not drained
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons flour

In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat the garlic and 1/2 cup of the cream until garlic softens, about fifteen minutes. Using back of a wooden spoon, crush each clove against the bottom of the pan. Add anchovies and their oil, olive oil, butter and remaining 1/2 cup cream. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until anchovies dissolve completely, about ten minutes.
Transfer bagna cauda to chafing dish, fondue pot or other container that will keep sauce warm. Serve immediately.
Recipe makes about 1-1/2 cups.

Jansson's Frestelse (Jansson's Temptation)
In Sweden, Jansson is a name everyone knows but there are several theories about exactly who he really was. There is; however, a widespread agreement that this relative of scalloped potatoes is a great dish.

2 cans (2 ounces each) anchovy fillets, drained, oil reserved
2-1/2 pounds Yukon god or russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated in food processor
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1-1/2 cups whipping cream
5 tablespoons finely chopped fresh bread crumbs

Using one teaspoon of the reserved anchovy oil, lightly oil a 2-quart baking dish.
Place grated potatoes in a large bowl and add cold water to cover. Drain potatoes, transfer to paper towel lined plate and pat dry. Return potatoes to bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Spread half of the potatoes in prepared dish. Tear anchovies into thirds and sprinkle over potatoes. Scatter top with onions and cover with remaining potatoes. Pour cream evenly over top. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs with remaining anchovy oil and sprinkle over top.
Bake potatoes at 400-degrees one hour or until top is golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly.
Recipe makes six to eight servings.

Beef Balls au Poivre with Anchovy Sauce
2 pounds ground sirloin
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1/2 cup butter, melted
Three anchovy fillets, minced
One clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cognac or other brandy (optional)

Preheat broiler or indoor grill.
Mix meat and olive oil together lightly. Form into 24 small balls. Crush peppercorns in a pepper grinder. Roll balls in the crushed pepper.
In a small skillet, heat butter and anchovies, mashing anchovies against the side of the skillet with a wooden spoon until they are pasty. Add garlic and saute slowly three minutes. If desired, add cognac and ignite.
Baste meatballs with anchovy sauce, then broil or grill until well browned, basting once or twice with more sauce. Serve meatballs with cocktail picks and remaining sauce in a heat-safe dish; re-warm sauce if needed.
Recipe makes two-dozen cocktail meatballs.

Anchovies and more Anchovies! Advanced Group

Five Fresh Anchovies

In the following recipes, flavor is intense. Sometimes, a whole anchovy fillet is right there in front of your eyes.

Speared Radish and Anchovy

This is a cocktail tidbit used as part of an appetizer platter. It could not be easier to prepare but one does have to like both anchovies and radishes.

1 anchovy fillet, drained
1 radish, root end trimmed

Wrap anchovy fillet around radish and secure with a toothpick. Recipe makes one serving.

Pasta with Anchovies and Bread Crumbs

This dish is for the anchovy purist. Following the recipe is a couple of variations to dilute the potency - but only slightly.

1 pound spaghetti
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10 anchovy fillets, drained
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh bread -crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Bring large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat, heat four tablespoons of the oil. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic just begins to turn golden. Add anchovies and, using the back of a wooden spoon, mash mixture until the anchovies nearly dissolve. Add pepper to taste. Remove pan from heat and set aside. In second skillet or saute pan, set over medium heat, heat remaining one-tablespoon oil. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring until brown, two to three minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
Drain pasta. Add to anchovy sauce and toss to coat. Stir in parsley. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over top and serve immediately. Recipe makes four to six servings.
Variations: You can add 1/4 cup pine nuts and 1/4 cup currants with the bread crumbs, or add 1/2 cup minced fresh mint with the parsley.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Anchovies and Rosemary

One leg of lamb (about 4-1/2 pounds)
1/2 lemon
One handful fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
Ten fillets of salted anchovies or anchovies in oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 425-degrees. With a sharp pointed knife, pierce the skin of the lamb at an angle about two inches deep and about ten times randomly about the leg, poking your finger into each cut to make a bit more room.
Rub the skin with the lemon and push the rosemary into the cuts and on to the skin.
Stuff the anchovy fillets into the cuts. Season the outside of the lamb with salt and pepper to taste.
Put a little oil into a roasting tray (preferably a heavy one) and add the lamb. Roast, turning every 30 minutes until cooked.

Anchovy Butter

1/2 teaspoon thinly sliced garlic
1/2 tablespoon thinly sliced shallots
1/4 cup packed parsley sprigs
3/4 ounces anchovy fillets in oil
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
One pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup (1/2-stick) butter (room temperature)

Place garlic and shallots in strainer. Rinse under hot water. Transfer to mini-food processor. This will not work in a full-size food processor.
Add parsley, anchovy fillets, lemon juice, peppers, and blend to a paste. Add butter and blend well.

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