Fish, Tiny and Salted: Recipe #22

A Love Letter to Anchovies

OK, so last week on Chit Chat a loyal subscriber asked, “Mr Zimmern, could you do a post about different ways to use anchovies? I just read about Caesar Spaghetti from, but I need more ideas!”

Well, first off, Mr. Zimmern was my Dad, you can call me Andrew. Ironically, it was my father who gave me my love of perversely stinky cheeses and tiny salted fish when he traveled me around the world, delighting in gorging us on Epoisse in France and colatura in Italy. And he loved anchovies.

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I knew why from an early age. My grandmother, his mom, served one appetizer as a canape. One. She cut out little circles of Wonder Bread and toasted them in the oven, schmeared them with margarine (she didn’t know what we now know) and topped each disc with an anchovy coiled around a caper right out of the tin.

To this day, I love toasting bread, spreading real butter on it and adding anchovies on top. I love anchovies in salads, with roasted peppers, on pizza, in pastas, and as a hidden seasoning agent in so many sauces, soups, stews, vinaigrettes and the like.

I use them in tonnato sauce, in salad dressings and on fire roasted red peppers. Just go to and enter the word anchovies in the search box and a whole slew of recipes pop up.

I keep several types of Anchovies in my house:

·      Cheap tinned filets that I use for certain sauces and dressings like tonnato sauce or anchovy vinaigrette.

·      Fancier filets in olive oil that I use for same recipes, but where I want less saltiness and more fishiness.

·      Whole, salted, head-off anchovies, cleaned. I soak them in water and peel the filets off by hand. I use these to make pasta Puttanesca or other dishes where I want you to bite down on sweet delicious pieces of small tiny salted fish.

·      Whole head-on salted anchovies, with the innards cured with them. I soak them in water and peel the filets off by hand. I use these to place on toasts or on roasted peppers, anywhere where I want to feature the pure anchovy as the main ingredient

·      Colatura (Italian fish sauce)

·      Vietnamese Fish Sauce (here’s the reserve version, which is currently sold out!)

Check out the above video where I show you a few of them… and grab your whole Nettuno anchovies or colatura from

And here are 2 fun anchovy recipes that I hope you enjoy. The first one is for the anchovy lover. The escarole dish is one where no one can tell there are anchovies in the sauce but without them the dish fails.

Spaghettini with Anchovies and Breadcrumbs

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