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Minced Anchovies Are A Powerhouse Salad Dressing Ingredient

Anchovies in tin
Anchovies in tin - Magone/Getty Images

Whether we like it or not, everybody needs their greens, and what better way to get your daily serving of vegetables than a salad? Although they sometimes get a bad rep for being boring, or in the words of Ron Swanson, likened to rabbit food, salads are captivating culinary creations that can be customized to suit the tastes of any foodie's palate. From simple mixed greens to Cobb classics and comforting medleys that don't even resemble a stereotypical salad, one common denominator brings all salads together -- dressing.

Every great salad relies on a high-quality dressing to round it out, and if you're looking for one with a bold depth of flavor, consider adding minced anchovies to your next batch. Anchovies are known for their intense umami flavor, which brings a rich and savory taste to your salad and helps balance the other flavors in your favorite recipe. These small, typically tinned fish are also salty, and because salt is a natural flavor enhancer, anchovies bring out the delicate subtleties of your salad.

Anchovies are a also nutrient-dense food, bringing omega-3 fatty acids, essential vitamins and minerals, and a generous amount of easily disguised protein to your salad bowl.

Read more: French Cooking Tricks You Need In Your Life

Where To Buy Anchovies And How To Keep Them Fresh

Person examining canned fish aisle at store
Person examining canned fish aisle at store - BearFotos/Shutterstock

If you don't typically eat anchovies, you may not know where to find them or what to do with them once you've purchased them. Tinned anchovies are typically sold near other canned fish like tuna and salmon. Tinned anchovies are typically sold as filets, so you'll want to mince them with a knife or food processor before adding them to your salad dressing.

If you want to reduce the work it takes to mince them on your own, anchovy paste, which is a creamy anchovy puree, is an alternative option that requires a little less work. However, you won't find it in the same aisle as their tinned counterpart. Instead, look for anchovy paste in the condiment section of your supermarket. If you don't feel like searching for them at the grocery store, there are dozens of anchovy options available for purchase on Amazon and other online grocery retailers.

Tinned anchovies last up to a year unopened and can be stored in your pantry. Once they've been opened, they should be tightly sealed and refrigerated where they will stay fresh for at least two months. Anchovy paste lasts up to two years unopened and should be stored in the refrigerator after opening where it will last for up to a year. Expired anchovies are marked by rotten smells, changes in color, and the presence of mold.

Complementary Ingredients

Anchovies and capers
Anchovies and capers - Juanmonino/Getty Images

Now that you're ready to add anchovy-infused dressing to your next heaping salad bowl, consider these complementary pairings as you begin assembling it. For starters, you can never go wrong with a classic Ceasar salad, with its dressing that traditionally relies on the infusion of minced anchovies -- the fish-kissed dressing pairs well with crisp, watery romaine lettuce, funky parmesan cheese, and herbaceous croutons. Give the Ceasar salad an oceanic finish and floral touch by adding capers, which are a match made in heaven when paired with anchovies.

If you're feeling sophisticated, add an anchovy vinaigrette to a French Nicoise salad. The briny notes in the anchovy dressing will add an adventurous dimension to the salad's neutral-flavored ingredients like hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, and avocado. Craving a light Italian meal? Assemble a Caprese salad and infuse your balsamic glaze with anchovies to give an umami essence to the zesty tomatoes and creamy mozzarella.

If none of those options speak to you, don't panic, anchovy dressing pairs well with a wide variety of salads and salad dressings. Don't hesitate to explore adding a combination of smoked or fresh herbs, spicy seasonings, bold cheeses, and various types of vinegar and oils to the dressing, and don't forget to top your salad with proteins like chicken or legumes to let the savory spirit of anchovies integrate with the heartier aspects of your salad.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.