pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
Which type? Tinned in coarse salt or jarred? Avoid the oil tins from Morocco as they are rancid by the time they arrive they arrive here---think "pizza anchovies"---which is why so many people think they hate anchovies.
Nancy is a food writer, historian, and author of many books, her most recent being Virgin Territory: Exploring the World of Olive Oil, forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin.
Anchovies originated as a way of preserving fish for the long term. Salted anchovies are fine but really need a lot of rinsing to get rid of excess salt. Anchovies in oil started life as salted anchovies and then, after a period of curing, were rinsed, dried, and packed in oil. As such they're my favorite way to use these delicious critters. If you open a jar, or a tin, and don't use it all--top it up with olive oil to cover (not your fine estate-bottled oil, please!) and keep in the fridge. The oil will thicken and harden slightly but that doesn't present any problems if you let them warm to room temp. Interesting about the rancid anchovies (above).
My favorite anchovies are the white ones which are pickled in vinegar---in Spain, bouquerones. But the reputation of this delightful little fish has been ruined by the poor quality stuff imported from N. Africa, tossed on a pizza and baked in a super hot oven or else carelessly thrown on to a caesar salad. Just bad news all the way. For the big tins of anchovies you have to be ready for some high maintentance; not just rinsing them but removing the spines etc. Anchovies have brought great things into our lives, from the Roman garum (now usually referred to as colatura) to Vietnamese fish sauce.
The way our oceans are being treated, soon we will be living on nothing but cephalopods and anchovies which have great survival instincts.
I use anchovies in both tin and a jar. The standard anchovies in the can - I remove them and wrap the remainder in foil and they last as long as they have needed to until I used them up. With the anchovies in oil in a jar I just keep them on the counter as long as covered with oil.
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