Acciughe Sotto Sale


I missed out for years on the wonders of the anchovy. It was always something that I turned my nose up at, and culturally I feel like all American kids were trained, in my day, to think anchovies were the most disgusting things on earth. Cartoons with anchovy pizzas stinking up rooms, thinking that people who ate them must have the worst breath in the world. They should have been targeting quarter pounders and supersized fries, not one of the world’s healthiest food.

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My mother-in-law buys jars of these artisinally salted anchovies in Lavagna, near Genova, where anchovies are a religion, served every way possible. These treasures in a glass jar don’t come cheap, but they are a little piece of heaven. They are a pain to clean, and it is a process, but well worth it. They need to first be rinsed in cold water to get the salt off, carefully pulling out their spines and pulling off that pesky tail without breaking the anchovy too much. After months in that salt they become very delicate. Another rinse and then dry them out on clean paper towels. We then place them in a dish and pour good extra-virgin olive oil over them to cover them. They are usually best after a night in the olive oil, but a few hours will also do.

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We use them to cook with, adding that delicious umami to pasta dishes that need a little extra love. When the anchovies have all been consumed, we filter the oil and use that to cook with, which adds great flavor to most things and leaves nothing to waste. Our favorite way to eat these guys though is to smear unsalted butter on good crusty bread and lay a few of these babies on top, a delicious little antipasto, but is also the perfect meal with a little salad on the side.

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One Year Ago: Orecchiette nelle ‘Nchiosce & Moscardini-Polipi agli Agrumi

Two Years Ago: Spaghetti alla Chittara con Cicoria e Paté di Olive, Spaghetti con le Cozze e Pomodori Freschi, Pranzo di Ferragosto & Fusilli Bucati alla Puttanesca

Three Years Ago: Grilled Bread Salad, Amatriciana with fresh tomatoes, Herb Marinated Kebabs, Cherry Clafouti & Blueberry Basil Vinegar

Four Years Ago: Pizza Bianca with Fresh Figs and Prosciutto Crudo & Sweet Pea Pesto

Five Years Ago: Grilled Lemon-Balsamic Asparagus, Zucchini and Ricotta Pie, Melanzane al Funghetto & Risotto with Zucchini and Saffron

~ by italicious on August 20, 2014.

3 Responses to “Acciughe Sotto Sale”

  1. I am one of those guys who says “hell yeah!” to anchovies. Too many Americans follow the “no anchovies” rubric, more out of lemming-like habit than anything else IMHO. But if you like salty things (and i do) give these bad boys a try. You won’t be sorry!

  2. I think I remember hearing first about anchovies on pizza. That scared the crap out of me! My French mother never used them, in spite of the wonderful pissaladiere that’s french. Although not from her part of France. Anyway, I think making my own Caesar salad got me to embrace anchovies! Great post!

  3. They are the BEST! With a nice cold glass of Italian white wine, perhaps a Vermentino from Sardinia.

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