Anchovy Taste Test

Photograph: Robyn Lee

Anchovies. You either love ’em, or you hate ’em, right? WRONG. In my experience, everybody loves anchovies—it’s just that some people don’t know they do. Talk to almost any chef or experienced home cook, and they’ll tell you that anchovies are one of the industry’s favorite not-so-secret secret weapons. Because they’re a concentrated source of glutamic and inosinic acid—two molecules responsible for triggering our sensation of savoriness—they’re irreplaceable for adding depth of flavor and a meaty backbone to, well, pretty much anything. Think you’re an exception to the rule? So do the long string of dinner guests to whom I’ve surreptitiously fed anchovies in various sauces, soups, salads, and stews.

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