Melt Anchovies In Olive Oil For A Rich Condiment To Finish Your Dishes

Anchovies may not be your first choice of tinned fish to eat right out of the can — although we aren't saying they shouldn't be — but they're the secret ingredient behind many iconic sauces. Caesar salad dressing, compound butters, and many a red pasta sauce depend on the salty, umami-rich flavor of anchovies. And you can make these tiny fish an easy, anytime flavor agent for a long list of dishes by transforming them into an infusion for olive oil.

Olive oil is the perfect earthy, savory complement to balance the anchovies' saltiness and fishiness for a well-rounded flavorful condiment to drizzle over a wide range of dishes. Anchovies come in tiny, salt-cured, oil-packed filets that are delicate enough to melt into a sauce by simply smashing them with the back of a spoon. If that isn't easy enough, you can also buy anchovy paste to squeeze into an olive oil.

To infuse anchovies in olive oil, you'll start by sautéing some oil packed filets in a saucepan, breaking them up into a paste. Then, you can swirl in extra virgin olive oil, stirring for a minute to combine the two ingredients. The heat is key to blooming and diffusing the anchovies' flavors into the oil. You can also add salt, black pepper, or crushed red pepper flakes for a spicy finish. Garlic paste and lemon zest would bring even more aromatic depth to your anchovy-infused olive oil.

Recipe pairings for anchovy-infused olive oil

Anchovy-infused olive oil will soon become an all-purpose condiment, its savory, salty, and earthy profile lending a sophisticated and versatile finish to cooked and raw dishes alike. It's even the perfect stand-alone condiment to dip crusty slices of bread in or to drizzle over buttered toast. Swap extra virgin olive oil for anchovy-infused olive oil to blend with egg yolk, garlic, and salt to make a tasty homemade garlic aioli for French fries, sandwiches, and burgers.

Anchovies are already a popular pizza topping, but if whole filets are too intense, you can finish a slice of pizza with anchovy oil in addition to a dusting of Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. Pasta is yet another ideal foundation for a drizzle of anchovy-infused olive oil. You can use it to bring out the umami-richness of tomatoes in many types of red sauces, or give rich, creamy white sauces an earthy, salty upgrade.

Add equal amounts of anchovy olive oil and lemon juice to an arugula salad, or use the duo to dress a Greek salad. You can even use it as a foundational ingredient for simple sautéed or slow-roasted veggies. Drizzle anchovy oil over a head of garlic or cherry tomatoes before roasting them at low temperatures for hours to accommodate the low smoke point of extra virgin olive oil. Anchovy-infused olive oil would also be the ultimate upgrade for these creamy garlic mashed red potatoes or a creamy white bean soup.