Anchovies are members of the family Engraulidae; they are from approximately 140 species and are called "forage fish." This simply means that they are small fish that are foraged by larger fish, sea birds, and marine mammals. The Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans — as well as the Black and Mediterranean seas — are home to the world's supply of anchovies. While these tiny fish are delicious fresh from the water, most of us are more familiar with the canned variety. Because of their small size, the bones can be (and are) eaten. And when cooked, the canned anchovies, bones and all, will almost completely dissolve or "melt," leaving only the flavor.
What do Anchovies taste like?
And here we come to the question that divides many people. Contrary to what you might assume, anchovies cooked into a dish do not taste fishy. They add a salty punch and a flavor that has led to their being classified as an "umami bomb" by many. Umami is often referred to as the fifth taste—it accents and complements sweet, savory, salty, and bitter flavors. And all umami really means is a deeply savory, meaty, even faintly earthy flavor. It also comes from mushrooms, meats, and cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano. That being the case, I'm convinced that the aversion that many "anchovy haters" express stems from an early experience with whole anchovies laid out on a badly made pizza. When well-integrated into a dish, anchovies simply make the dish taste "more" like what it is, rather than stand out as a separate fishy taste.
How do you use Anchovies?
There is a myriad of ways to use anchovies in the kitchen. I think my favorite has to be simply mincing them and effectively melting them into the onions before adding tomatoes to create a sauce for pasta or a pizza. A few can also be incorporated with the aromatics before adding beef or lamb to your pot for a stew. And let us not forget the delicious "warm bath" that is bagna cauda. Another personal favorite in my house is mixing minced anchovy into olive tapenade — it's incredibly easy to make, and impossible to stop eating.
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Canned anchovies packed in oil are blush red, a result of the salt-curing process. The meat of unprocessed anchovies is gray and becomes off-white when cooked.
Canned or salted anchovies have a pronounced, salty tang, and fresh anchovies have a rich but subtle taste and a soft texture.
Unprocessed anchovies have soft flesh, but canned meat is firm.
Anchovies are high in calcium, iron, niacin, phosphorus, and selenium but are also high in cholesterol.
Although anchovies are thought to be abundant, the population levels are unknown.
At recommended levels.
The gear used to catch anchovies is used at the surface and his very little impact on habitat.
The bycatch is low because the gear is selective