I have several recipes which I would like to cook that contain anchovies but unfortunately I don't eat them. Does anyone have any suggestions for an alternative ingredient which I could use as a substitute, or should I just leave this ingredient out completely?
I am also interested in any other ingredient substitutions which anyone has used successfully - for the times when you realise you have missed something from your shopping list and have to rely on what your storecupboard has to offer.
Why don't you eat them? Are you allergic, or don't you like the taste? Because there are basically two reasons anchovies can be in a recipe.
It can be bits of anchovies that are recognizable as such, as for instance on a pizza. In that case I would substitute with sardines, or go further from the recipe and use anything strong and salty, such as black olives, or bacon bits.
But anchovies can also be used to deepen the flavor of other recipes (by enhancing the umami component), for instance in a lamb stew, or baked with chicken livers. In this case, the flavor of anchovies won't be recognizable as it will fuse with the other flavors, so if it's the taste you don't like you should try it anyway. If you have other reasons not to use anchovies, you could try dried shrimp instead. Or leave it out completely.
I have seen recipes that list fish sauce as a substitute for anchovies when being used for flavor enhancement.
Most fish sauce contains anchovies so I wouldn't call that a proper substitution, just a different form.
Apologies - I should have explained that the reason why I don't eat anchovies is simply that I don't like the taste.
Many Thanks for your replies - there are some great suggestions which I would never have thought of, (particularly marmite) and I look forward to trying them out soon to see the different results. Thanks for the book recommendation as well!
I bring anchovy haters into anchovy eaters with the following garden path.
1. Caeser salad dressing (anchovy is in the dressing)
2. Anchovy paste (small amount) mixed with unsalted butter mashed into egg yoke and stuffed back in the hard cooked egg white.
3. Bagna Cauda on fettucini.
So, if you like caesar salad, you already like anchovy. It is also a significant component in worchestershire sauce and A-1 steak sauce.
I have often looked at Bagna Cauda recipes and thought that I might like to cook this dish, but the inclusion of the anchovies has always stopped me. I will take note of your suggestion and see if I get through all 3 steps!
Do try anchovies! They really are a great flavor enhancer, in small quantities, and you'll never notice an anchovy taste! Using anchovy paste to enhance flavors is an old chef's trick. Try it in complex-flavored soups or stews like beef bourgignon. A teaspoon or so of anchovy paste will really make a difference! Experiment to get the taste you like. (The dish should never actually taste of anchovies!)
My husband used to profess thathe didn't eat anchovies - "hairy fish" but now he always makes sure that there is a jar in the store cupboard. Initially I added anchovies to the sauce for broccoli pasta recipes where it completely dissolves into the olive oil and is masked by the chilli, and then I chopped them up on homemade pizza, then whole on pizza and he was converted.
I really love anchovies, the taste and the smell. yummy! This is one ingredient that is misunderstood.:)
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