I'd never cooked with anchovies before, and something possessed me to try without a hint of background or research. (Ok, two things possessed me. One was the box of Snoqualmie organic wine that arrived for tasting at the office, specifically the Washington vineyard's 2008 Naked Merlot ($12). The other was that I was cooking only for myself; my wife is horrified by odorous fish.)
Anchovies are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, the "good fats" and they're sustainably fished. Of course, they're notoriously "fishy" and indeed, when I ate one (salted, in olive oil) straight from the jar, I was blown away by the strong flavor. Incredibly, anchovies cook down in a sauce in a way that adds a robust savory flavor, with none of the fishiness (or even much saltiness). My impromptu sauce was based on garlic, tomatoes and wine. I added broccoli to boost my veggie intake, but I think the sauce might taste better without the addition.
Everyone at the table (me) thought the results were great, and research after-the-fact confirmed that my instincts for using anchovies were good. That said, be forewarned that this is the recipe of a true amateur.
- Dan Shapley, TDG senior editor
Related: Our Favorite Organic Red Wines
Makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta. That's a meal for 2 in my book, but a meal for 8 according to the pasta nutrition label.
1 lb pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
6-8 anchovies, about half a 4.2-ounce jar (salted, in olive oil)
1 cup 2008 Snoqualmie organic Naked Merlot
1 28-ounce can of Muir Glen whole fire-roasted organic tomatoes
2-3 tops of organic broccoli (optional)
1. Boil water for pasta, placing broccoli in a strainer over the pot to steam
2. In large skillet, cook garlic, onion and anchovies until the garlic is fragrant, the onions tender and the anchovies disintegrated
3. Add wine and let it bubble away for a bit
4. Add tomatoes, including juice. While they're cooking, cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and let simmer until it becomes saucy.
5. Cut broccoli into bite-sized sprigs.
6. Add steamed broccoli (optional) to sauce and serve over pasta with a glass of Naked Merlot or two.
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