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Anchovy help

  • k

When I buy anchovies in a tin, covered in oil to use in cooking, they come out fresh and blend right in with my dish without overpowering but I alway have leftovers. I don't use anchovies a lot so twice I've tried covering the leftover fillets completely with oil and putting them in the freezer. Both times when I defrost they come out VERY fishy tasting and overpowering.

Tonight I saw a huge jar of anchovy fillets at the grocery that said only 'keep in a cool place'. Should I not be putting the anchovies in the fridge or freezer after opening? What if I bought a huge jar and used a few and put the rest in the fridge, would I have the same issue with fishy taste? How long can I keep them wherever i'm keeping them?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I buy a largish jar of Italian anchovies packed in olive oil that has a wire clamp lid. I keep the unused anchovies in the fridge and have not noticed any increase of fishiness, but maybe I am being insensitive.

    The only 'problem' I encounter is that I have to bring the whole jar up to room temperature to melt the olive oil again before extracting more anchovies.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Food Tyrant

      yes, this is the way i do it. i've also gone the salt-packed route in the past. i found that the quality difference between salt-packed and good quality oil-packed anchovies did not justify the increased pain of dealing with the salt-packed anchovies, which have to be rinsed, filleted, and deboned. i don't usually have a problem with fishiness, but one thing you could try is rinsing off the oil thoroughly, soaking a little, and squeezing them dry before using.

      1. re: queue

        Absolutely rinse them. The oil may not be the best.

        I also rinse capers, olives, the pickled white anchovy, etc. Re-dressed with your finest EVOO is so much tastier.

      2. re: Food Tyrant

        This is what I do as well. Not sure why you'd need to freeze them when they're preserved in the oil or salt...?

        1. re: Millicent

          yeah, obviously I dont - that's why I asked because I suspected I was doing something wrong.

          Where does one find Italian anchovies in jars with clips on them?

        2. re: Food Tyrant

          I'm glad to learn that you can safely, with anchovies, anyway, refrigerate, bring to room temp, re-refrigerate, re-room temp, ad infinitum...Have always been leery about doing this and invariably end up with an anchovy mess - both in and out of the jar. Fortunately, I only use them in cooking, so the appearance isn't an issue, but being able to get a measurable amount is much more appealing.

        3. I'm no expert on this topic, but Mario Batali of the Food Network's 'Molto Mario' strongly suggests buying imported anchovies packed in salt.

          Check out one of the URLs that I found on Google.

          http://shop.store.yahoo.com/chefshop/...

          Buona fortuna!

          1 Reply
          1. re: ChiliDude

            Second this! They're a little more work (rinsing & deboning), but they're delicious, keep forever in the fridge, and you can use only as much as you need.

          2. When I freeze left-over anchovies, I take them out of the oil and wrap them in saran. I don't find they taste any different when thawed.

            1. Depending on the use to which you put anchovies, you might consider Thai fish sauce for such things as Caesar Salad, capanata, etc. Cheap, easy to use, need not refrigerate, etc.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jim H.

                Fish sauce has a completely different flavor than anchovies. Also anchovies have a depth of flavor that fish sauce doesn't even come close to.

              2. You can buy anchovy paste in toothpaste like tubes at gourmet markets or italian markets. It's handy for salads and things that don't require the whole fish, for the obvious reason that you just squeeze out what you need, cap it, and pop it back in the fridge without worrying about oxidation, etc.

                Not as good as Mario's salt-packed imported anchovies, but easier if you need it as an ingredient in a sauce or dressing.

                1. Re the salt packed v. oil packed dilemma: many purists say that salt-packed is better, but someone I deemed to be reliable (not sure where I read this--CI? NYT??) did a comparison in the last year or two and determined that oil-packed were actually better and the salt ritual was not worth it.

                  Obviously reasonable hounds can disagree, but I get little jars of Ortiz (I think CI voted them the best) and really like them. I keep them in the fridge and "melt" in the same way others do. They are not inexpensive, but the flavor is very good, and the jar comes with a handy little fork thing for extracting them (you can build up a collection and use them for hors d'oeurves!). I have also used the ones in cans, but I really like anchovies and I think these taste better. I have not tried the salt packed since I don't generally see them in the shops.