Bobby Flay Has A Secret Ingredient He Puts In Almost Everything

Some people sneak espresso powder into their brownies. Others swear by adding lemon juice to chicken soup. Of course, there are so many ingredients that can make certain dishes taste even better than they already do, but there's one that Bobby Flay claims works for almost everything: anchovies. In a tour of his well-stocked pantry posted on Instagram by online grocery company Misfits Market, the celebrity chef, also Misfits Market's chef-in-residence, showcased one of his favorite pantry staples — a jar of Agostino anchovies. "I mean, I put anchovies in so many things, and people don't know it," Flay admitted in the video.

Though the ingredient is versatile enough to be added into all sorts of savory dishes, according to Flay, anchovies work best when added to seafood dishes. "I crush up a bunch of anchovies, put it in the sauce," Flay explained of his process. "It just enhances it so much more."

How to add anchovies to a recipe

You might think of anchovies as an easy way to ruin a dish with an overwhelmingly fishy flavor, but as long as you use the appropriate amount of the ingredient, you won't have that issue. MasterClass explains that while anchovies have a fishy flavor profile — they are fish, after all — if you properly incorporate them into a sauce or dressing, they contribute more of a rich, umami flavor rather than a concentrated fishiness, contrary to popular belief. So instead, think of anchovies as natural MSG with the complexity of truffles or aged cheese.

According to Bon Appétit, anchovies work particularly well as a substitute for salt. First, adjust the level of saltiness to your liking by rinsing or soaking them in cold water. Then you can either chop them up or mash them into a paste and add them to a recipe as you would salt. Whether in Caesar dressing or pasta sauce, the anchovy-imparted flavor is bound to be Bobby Flay-approved.