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What Is Anchovy Paste? How to Use Anchovy Paste

Know Your Ingredients: Anchovy Paste

Does the notion of using anchovy paste in cooking sound fishy? If so, perhaps it's time to reconsider your stance: Anchovy paste is a versatile, convenient method of enhancing flavor in everything from soup to nuts.

Widely available in specialty stores, anchovy paste is a potent, salty paste made from ground anchovy fillets, water or olive oil, vinegar, and sugar to mellow out the ingredient's fish flavor. (It can also be made from scratch by mashing cured anchovies with a drizzle of olive oil until smooth.) Because the paste can have an overwhelming taste and smell, it's best used in small doses. For this reason, it's often sold in multiuse tubes, which, once opened, keep for up to several months.

A touch of anchovy paste can be used to add a savory, umami quality to dishes — one that's not so much briny as it is piquant. Use it to boost stews, soups, and braises, or to perk up tomato sauce or a meat rub. Personally, I love using the ingredient to up the quotient in a Caesar salad dressing. What do you use it for?

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