​Ingredient Glossary: Anchovy

​Ingredient Glossary: Anchovy

Posted by Emily on 1st Dec 2019

Commonly sold in tins or jars, anchovies bring a savoury, umami touch to various sauces and dressings. Here's your comprehensive purchasing guide for storing, preparing, and cooking this versatile ingredient.

What Are Anchovies?

These are elongated, silver-hued, salted fish primarily found in the waters around the Black Sea and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. However, the most prized specimens are believed to originate from the Mediterranean. Typically measuring 8-10cm in length, their nuanced flavour tends to fade quickly post-capture, making them rare as fresh exports. Instead, they are usually filleted, salt-cured, and then preserved in either salt or oil (particularly flavourful choices) in tins or jars. Once preserved, they acquire a robust yet refined piscine flavour and become an essential fixture in your larder.

Where to Buy Anchovies?

The canned and jarred types are readily available in most grocery stores and retail outlets.

Selecting the Finest Anchovies

When choosing, opt for anchovies that have been preserved in salt or oil. Among the oils used, olive oil is considered the most superior.

Preparing Anchovies

If your anchovies come packed in salt, you can either lightly remove some of the excess for a more intense salty hit or for a milder flavour, you can rinse all the salt off through a sieve. Remember to pat them dry before incorporating them into your recipes. Anchovies preserved in oil can be used directly from the container.

Storing Anchovies

Unopened tins or jars should be stored in a cool kitchen cupboard. Be cautious, as opened anchovies deteriorate rapidly. Any remnants should be kept submerged in oil within a sealed container in the refrigerator and consumed within a two-day period.

Cooking with Anchovies

Anchovies are a key element in the quintessentially British Gentleman's Relish. However, their culinary uses are varied and extensive. Experiment with them in a salade niçoise, a Caesar salad, or even in a tapenade (a paste made from olives and anchovies). They can serve as a topping for pizzas or be incorporated into a puttanesca sauce for pasta. For an additional burst of flavour, crush one or two into some butter and melt it over grilled fish or lamb.

Explore our Recipes with Anchovies

If you're eager to experiment more with Anchovies, then try our bold & beautiful Smoked Haddock Fishcakes With Capers and lemon or our Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe.