Taste Test, Shopping

Taste Test, Shopping

The Best Anchovies for Pasta, Pizza, and More

They're pretty tasty to snack on too. Seriously.

10/22/2021 6:31:00 PM

There are lots of fish in the... tins? Here are our favorites.

They're pretty tasty to snack on too. Seriously.

All products featured on Epicurious are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.The poor, divisive anchovy. A pizza topping at least as polarizing as pineapple, if not more so. A crucial element of the

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Caesar salad, nevertheless often picked off of the top and left to sit sad and alone on the edge of a plate. But I’m declaring here and now: I am an unapologetic anchovy fan. And, dang it, these delicate little umami bombs deserve, at the very least, your attention.

Yes, of course there are bad anchovies out there—I can absolutely confirm this after sitting at my kitchen table with eight containers of little fish, tasting each option straight from the jar or tin. But there are also some really wonderful, complex, downright delicious anchovies too. The kind you’d use in a canapé or to make headtopics.com

anchovy toastor to top a salad (and actually eat them). In fact, some of them were so tasty and mellow, I could see myself snacking on them straight from the jar on the regular (really). Below, find the best anchovies—the ones that should always belong in your pantry for a shelf-stable hit of savory flavor.

How I testedThe anchovies many folks are most familiar with—the ones that pop up on pizzas and salads—have been filleted, salt-cured, and packed in oil in tins or jars. You might also find whole anchovies packed in salt, but for the purposes of this article, I left those alone; they require a little more work to eat, so I focused on anchovies that could be eaten directly from their containers. The salt-packed ones are great, but often come whole, requiring you to fillet them yourself, then soak them to remove the salt. Thanks, but no thanks, little fishies.

I tasted eight popular brands blind with the help of a few open-minded friends. Here are the results.The best anchovies: ScaliaDeciding on the winner was tougher than we expected, but Scalia narrowly beat the runner-up simply because we preferred the particular flavors of the olive oil used to pack these anchovies. Scalia is based in Sicily and uses extra-virgin olive oil in each jar. This particular oil tasted fruity and bright, playing beautifully with the meaty, briny flavor of the anchovies. The oil had just a hint of sweetness that made the overall anchovy experience the most balanced of the bunch. The anchovies themselves were meaty, but not overly firm. Some of the other brands we tried were downright chewy, which made for an unpleasant experience. Scalia’s, however, were just right—not too firm and not mushy or mealy. We all agreed that we’d be perfectly happy making these a regular snack. While you could use these in a sauce or on pizza, they’d be better served as the star of the show. The Scalia also tasted the least salty of the anchovies we tried.

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