The Best Type Of Canned Anchovies To Add To Your Pasta Sauce

While some people are absolutely obsessed and head-over-heels in love with anchovies, others may express a deep aversion at their slight mention. Due to their exceptionally distinctive salty flavor, they have become a controversial food choice, and those who like eating them on their own are often questioned by those who don't, per Food24

Nevertheless, as Serious Eats tells us, nearly every chef loves them, and they are an industry favorite because of the delicious deep flavor and meaty texture they can add to sauces and dishes. These umami-rich creatures from the sea contain glutamic and inosinic acid, stimulating our taste buds with that hint of salty richness.

Whether for a grilled chicken Caesar salad, a pizza topping, or eating them straight out of the can, there is a vast array of possibilities for anchovies to enhance your culinary experience (via MasterClass). Pasta sauces, in particular, are a great way to use them to turn a basic sauce into something more complex. But as you may have noticed in the grocery store, there are several types of anchovies to select from and numerous opinions on how to choose the best kind.

Use oil-packed anchovies for robust flavor

Anchovies commonly come in a jar or can, packed in salt or oil or as a paste. The Kitchn recommends salt-packed anchovies for a stronger taste, but you will need to remove the bones and then soak them in water, which can be time-consuming. Anchovies in paste form are easier to use but lack that authentic punch of flavor  — so what does that leave? Those stacked and submerged in oil, of course.

Even the home-making and food connoisseur Martha Stewart advocates for oil-packed anchovies in her delicious anchovy-tomato pasta sauce recipe. To bring out the dimensions of the anchovy side of the sauce, she recommends using some of the oil from the can when cooking the garlic, onions, and tomatoes. 

Chef and writer Odette Williams also stands behind the notion that the addition of anchovies just has a different effect on your palate. "You'd think this full-bodied sauce had been simmering for hours, not just 20 minutes," she shares along with her anchovy-based tomato sauce recipe (via The Washington Post). 

It's time to join the many chefs and restaurateurs who adore this little delight and begin putting anchovies in more of your recipes, but be careful — you may soon become the person who eats them right out of the can!