I have a secret weapon I use for flavor – anchovy paste ! Now before you say you hate anchovies, I will tell you nothing tastes fishy, and you won’t even know it’s in there. You’ll only know the food tastes good. I often buy it by the dozen just to get the best price and to make sure I always have it in stock. (I do this with tomato paste tubes as well).
Consider another product that gives that great unami flavor – Worcestershire sauce. Know what it’s made from? White vinegar, molasses and anchovies. You’ve been using this fish without even knowing it!
My most favorite way to use it is with sauteed foods, particularly onions or mushrooms. It really gives them a pop of flavor, and goes great with a steak. A bit of paste melts right into the butter or oil.
Other ways to sneak in anchovy paste for an elusive flavor boost:
- in place of anchovy fillets in Caesar dressing
- in any vinaigrette
- puttanesca sauce
- any tomato sauce
- melted into butter for a quick sauce on potatoes, vegetables or meat
- aioli sauces on grilled meat or fish
- smeared on a chicken prior to roasting – mix with butter or oil
- mix with cooked meat juices from lamb or beef or a great aus jus sauce
- add to tartar sauce, homemade or the jarred stuff
- soup, almost any kind
- pizza sauce – no one will see the anchovy fillets, but will love the flavor!
Anchovy paste keeps a long time in the fridge once opened – up to a year. That’s much easier than opening a jar of whole anchovy fillets and trying to use them all up in the near future. One half teaspoon of anchovy paste equals two anchovy fillets from a tin. Since the paste also contains some oil and salt, taste and adjust the salt in the recipe.
It’s also easy to use. Just like an anchovy filet, it melts into any hot butter, oil, or sauce. No pieces of fish to see at all.
Still resistant to the idea? Buy one tube, and try it, a little at a time. Start just by using a dab. You’ll find out this one ingredient is a powerhouse of taste that works in almost anything. It’s a universal unami flavor ingredient.
The only precaution: if anyone is allergic to fish you will need to make full disclosure.
Let me know if you use it, or if you like it when trying it for the first time!