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What Is Anchoiade?

By Eugene P.
Updated May 16, 2024
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Anchoiade is an anchovy-based condiment that originated in France. There are some variations on the basic recipe, but the core elements nearly always remain anchovies, vinegar, garlic and oil. When served, anchoiade can be used as a sauce for a salad or other dish, a spread for toasted pieces of bread, or as a dip for crudites, vegetables and other foods. It also can be employed as an ingredient in another dish, such as a pasta sauce. Some variations include fruits such as figs, nuts, and other spices that can give it a unique and pungent flavor.

The main ingredient used for flavor in anchoiade is anchovy. The type of salted, canned anchovies that are packed in oil work perfectly well and are specifically listed in some recipes, though a slightly less sharp taste can be achieved by using fresh anchovies that have been salted. Whichever type is used, the anchovies should first be cleaned so any remaining innards or other undesirable parts are removed. The anchovies occasionally are washed under running water to remove some of the salt. The oil in which canned anchovies are packed can be used in the anchoiade to give a more robust flavor.

The dip is prepared by taking the cleaned anchovies and some garlic and mixing them together. They can be placed in a mortar and pestle and ground roughly until a thick paste is made, or they can be placed in a food processor and processed until mostly smooth. The paste is then transferred to a mixing bowl.

Vinegar is the next ingredient added to the mixing bowl and incorporated into the anchovy paste. While running a food processor or constantly whisking the mixture, olive oil is drizzled into it much in the same way that a salad dressing is made. The olive oil will help to create a stable emulsion, initially creating a thick consistency. The amount of olive oil added to the anchoiade depends on what the final use will be. For thick spreads, little olive oil is added, while dips and sauces will require more.

Other ingredients can be added, most notably nuts such as filberts or almonds that are ground into the anchovies with the garlic. Shallots, peppers and onions also can be added, although they should not be ground too smoothly into the mixture. For a sweeter anchoiade, figs and hazelnuts can be included. A variation known as anchoiade nicoise can be made by adding chopped olives to the mixture so it resembles a spicy tapenade.

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