Love them or hate them, anchovies are rich with flavor and nutrients, and these salt-packed babies from Cetara, Italy, are the best. That dried-up excuse for an anchovy that you had on a slice of pizza or a Caesar salad and never attempted again? Not this anchovy. Yes, it still has that strong, salty, oceanic flavor (that I personally love); but it’s also plump and fleshy and a top choice for the anchovy lovers in your life.
Plus, they’re packed in salt, not oil, so they retain their shape and flavor. What’s more, they’re packed in Vincenzo Gucciardo sea salt , collected from the salt flats in Trapani, Sicily. (The more I use this salt the more I realize it’s head and shoulders above other sea salts. Its intense flavor means you don’t have to use as much either.)
Anchovies don’t have to be eaten straight-up; they are often used as a base ingredient in pasta sauces—a way to infuse savory complexity without adding actual salt. Another use? An Italian chef taught me his quick and delicious sauce for any simple fish: put 4 anchovies and one bunch of fresh chives in a food processor and mix briefly until creamy; drizzle it over your favorite fish and prepare to swoon—even anchovy haters will love this, I swear (just don’t tell them what’s in it). Plus, I recently discovered the house-stuffed anchovy olives at Milwaukee’s upscale Bacchus restaurant . That was a delicious martini.
To prepare salt-packed anchovies: Remove the whole anchovy from its brine. Remove the top and bottom fins with your hand or a knife. Pry open the anchovy along its belly until you have two separate filets. Remove the spine and discard. Trim the anchovies of any extra material and run it under water to help remove any skin. Soak briefly in water or milk to remove excess salt.