Don’t Fear the Anchovy

Anchovy fillets on avocado toast

The tiny anchovy is one of the world’s most polarising foodstuffs. Pineapple on pizza? A toddler’s argument. Anchovy – on pizza or in any dish – is a whole new world of controversy. This poor, salty fish is under-used and under-appreciated by cooks that can’t handle its powerful flavour – but we can fix that. Here are five easy ways to start eating anchovies like a Swedish sailor.


pizza with olives, onion, and anchovy

Everything’s better surrounded by bread and cheese. For those new to anchovies, a pizza is probably the best way in. The fillets can be dissolved in a tomato base or sprinkled over the top before baking. Both methods will provide a gentle hit of salt nestled in a crisp, melting mouthful.

Avocado toast

Anchovy fillets on avocado toast

High-quality anchovy fillets make a good-looking addition to any meal, and avocado toast can always use a salty accent. Layer together: a thick slice of toasted sourdough, a generous lashing of avo, a couple of slices of tomato, a few scattered anchovy fillets, and a cracking of black pepper.

Pasta puttanesca
Pasta puttanesca with anchovy

The curing process breaks down anchovies to they have next to no muscle fibre remaining. This means they break down easily, and when added to a rich pasta sauce they’ll dissolve, leaving a warm, briny flavour in any passata.

Caesar salad

caesar salad with anchovy fillets

Here, the sharpness of the anchovy complements crisp lettuce and creamy aioli. Anchovy dressing is the sleekest way to add some tang to your salad. Whisk together oil, egg yolk, and a few anchovy fillets for a mayonnaise-based dressing.

Olive tapenade

olive tapenade

Anchovy is unique among foods for having a salty, umami flavour without tasting like the ocean – it’s not fishy at all. This makes it perfect for adding strong undertones to earthy flavours in a tapenade or bruschetta. Blend together Kalamata olives, capers, and a few anchovy fillets for a spreadable puree perfect for any antipasto platter.