My experience with my new anchovies was completely unlike my disappointing experience with the supposedly superior imported oil packed tuna. When I opened my jar of salt-packed anchovies, I was first struck by the fact that there was no strong odor. The contents actually had a faint briny smell. When I pulled out one of the anchovies, it was immediately apparent that I was looking at a fish(!)...not a mystery strip of flesh that I had to take on faith as having once been a fish. After rinsing and deboning (easily done—gently pull each filet away from the skeleton, beginning at the head end), I found the individual filets to be plump and firm.
|2 salt-packed anchovies (4 filets)|
|1 de-boned anchovy (2 filets)|
As far as storage goes, salt-packed anchovies should be kept in their salt. If the ones you buy come in a tin, repack them in a jar (adding more salt to cover, if you like) for long-term storage in your fridge. Most sources will tell you that you can keep them for a year. Although, it seems to me they might keep indefinitely if kept chilled and well-covered with salt.
Besides the Pasta Puttanesca, I have used my new anchovies in one other pasta from my regular rotation—one that features broccoli. It was also excellent. I can't wait to try them in other old favorites. Perhaps I should make a Caesar salad next.
1/4 c. Olive Oil
4 to 6 anchovy filets, minced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. Red Pepper Flakes (or to taste)
28-ounce can Italian Plum Tomatoes, passed through the coarse disc of a food mill (or pulsed in the food processor)
2/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and cut into quarters
2 T. capers, drained and rinsed
1 lb. Penne pasta
1/4 to 1/2 c. minced flat-leaf parsley
Place the olive oil, along with the anchovy, garlic & peppers in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Stir to coat everything with the oil and cook until the garlic is beginning to turn golden, but is not brown—2 minutes or so. Add the tomatoes with the olives and capers. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 10 to 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water to the boil in a large stock/pasta pot. Add 2 to 3 Tablespoons of salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss well. Add the parsley and toss again. If you like, drizzle in a bit more olive oil to give the sauce a nice sheen. Serves 4 to 6
• Most of the flavors in this dish are “to taste”—so, add anchovy, garlic, pepper flakes, capers and olives in quantities to suit your taste.
• During the growing season, use fresh tomatoes that have been peeled and chopped. You will need about 2 pounds of tomatoes.
(Recipe adapted from Trattoria by Patricia Wells)