Why You Shouldn't Skip The Canned Anchovies In Your Recipe

We get it, anchovies give some people the ick and while this may never change for some, we absolutely recommend reconsidering canned anchovies. Little do you know you've probably consumed canned anchovies many times and loved them, without even knowing. Some may ask for their Caesar salad or pizza without the anchovies, but you really don't know what you're missing. While they are sometimes listed on the menu, anchovies have a way of sneaking into a ton of sauces, dips, and marinades — and for good reason (via Serious Eats).

Without tasting them, people may assume they do not like anchovies because they think they know what they taste like, but let us tell you that eating an anchovy by itself tastes very different than using it in a recipe. Instead of giving off a fishy flavor, they add depth to many dishes that could not be achieved without them. Just give them a try, we promise you will not regret it. Let's dive into why.

Anchovies add umami and depth

Jumping straight into enjoying anchovies from their tin might be a stretch for some, so let's start by insisting you use them in recipes where we know they work and belong. Being that anchovies are cured in salt, they easily break down and dissolve into other dishes and add an abundance of flavor. So, as mentioned by chef Sohla El-Wahlly of Bon Appétit, anchovies are one ingredient that you won't even notice is in the dish, until it's been left out. They won't give the dish a fishy taste, but they will add umami flavor to it.

While it can be hard to imagine, you really will find anchovies hidden in recipes from pasta sauces to meat marinades. According to Serious Eats, anchovies in pasta sauces can play different roles, from giving puttanesca sauce its signature flavor to helping balance out a pesto. In addition, instead of fishy, anchovies can help make meat taste even meatier. 

In fact, Worcestershire sauce, a common condiment to use with meat, has anchovies in it, so why not go directly to the source instead? While the list of why you should use anchovies goes on, they are absolutely one ingredient to not be skipped. Should you already be a fan of anchovies, like we are, Martha Stewart suggests adding in the oil found in the tin for a stronger anchovy taste.