What Is Anchovy Salad?

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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 02 May 2020
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Anchovy salad is a cold vegetable dish mainly made from a mix of greens, pieces of anchovy, and sometimes, other kinds of seafood, such as tuna. This type of fish salad is common in French cuisine, and it is also sometimes known as a salad nicoise. The average anchovy salad is often served with vinaigrette dressing. It gets a good amount of flavoring from a measured amount of chopped and drained anchovies, as well as some other basic seasonings.

When cooking with anchovies, generally the rule is "less is more" because these fish have a strong flavor and high sodium content. Many anchovy salad recipes call for only a limited number of the small fish, and these are usually minced into small pieces with a good chef's knife. Anchovies are often available in cans or jars, packed in oil that can add flavor to a salad dressing. Many cooks who regularly use them recommend blotting excess oil from them before chopping and adding them to the rest of the salad. Canned tuna can be an added source of protein if preferred.

An anchovy salad recipe typically calls for vegetables such as radishes, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, sliced onion, and green beans. The types of lettuce used can sometimes vary by personal preference, but favorites often include fresh spinach leaves. Some recipes for a starchier anchovy salad can skip the lettuce entirely and use cooked slices of red potato mixed with the rest of the vegetables instead. Slices of hard boiled egg can also serve as a garnish for this salad.

Rather than adding the minced anchovies directly into the rest of the ingredients, some cooks prefer to incorporate them into the dressing. They typically do so by heating up some plain olive oil and then mixing in the crushed anchovies along with some of the anchovy oil from the jar or can. The finished oil can then be tossed with the salad ingredients along with a few squeezes of lemon juice. This type of anchovy salad is often served with some toasted French bread for soaking up the remaining anchovy-flavored dressing.

Some cooks prefer a heavier dressing for this kind of fish salad. An alternative to a vinaigrette is a dressing mixed from sour cream, white wine vinegar, and a measured amount of vegetable oil. Common seasonings for this recipe are usually salt, pepper, and a small amount of ground parsley.


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