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Anchovies on pizza - when to add?

I love anchovies on my pizza. However, I prefer that they be placed on after the pizza is cooked. I do not like the dry texture when placed on pizza before cooking.

When is the typical time to add anchovies to pizza? Before cooking or after? I tend to order anchovies on the side because I'm often unsure how it's done in most pizzerias.

What do you know about this? Is it just common to place them on before? Thanks.

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  1. NOT a fan of little hairy fishes, so say time to add is NEVER!?! Slikes them, so we got anchovies on half a pie one time. The extremely fishy taste took over the whole pizza... NOT enjoyable.

    BUT have theory on anchovies and their FISHY reputation. Was gonna make Marianne Esposito's muffaletta sandwich... she's on a PBS cooking show. She made an olive spread in food processor... green olives, black lives, onions, marinated artichoke hearts, garlic, olive oil. She INSISTED it needed anchovies and chided tv watchers by saying something like... stop making those faces!! Think olive mix called for something like 6+ anchovie filets... and I was skeptical, to say the least. Went ahead and bought a small can and dropped ONE in... then tasted. Then 2, 3, 4, maybe 5.. with no nasty, fishy flavor. There are a LOT of anchovies, even in smallest can, so stashed rest in a tightly sealed food storage container. By the NEXT DAY... "OOOH that smell, can't ya smell that smell, the smell of death surrounds ya!"... Skynard, right?? My conclusion was... you have to use them ALL up as soon as can is opened?!?

    1. I, too, love anchovies on pizza, but I prefer them to be placed prior to baking, because I think they get 'incorporated' better.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ricepad

        Me too.

        The point of them on pizza is to be cooked.

        Anchovies are one of my top 10 foods .....

      2. On the occasions I want anchovies on a pizza, I order without. Then put my own salt-cured anchovies on after it is served. Yes, pizzarias will put them on before cooking, and this is inevitably disastrous (for my taste), the heat intensifying the flavor too much. And the quality of the canned anchovies is never up to my standard.

        2 Replies
          1. I've always had them with the anchovies placed on prior to going into the oven. As to the end result, it depends on the quality of the anchovy. Better restaurants use better ancoives and they result in a better pizza. If all you have had is chain restaurant pizza's, then it doesn't really matter, it will be a poor end result.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mike0989

              The problem with chain restaurant pizza is that there's no telling how long those anchovies have been sitting around in an open can. The last order for anchovies may have been DAYS earlier!

              1. re: ricepad

                Very true and why I will pretty much only get anchovies at Neapolitan - or Neapolitan inspired pizzerias! They're definitely not something I get on all varieties of pizza.

            2. I'm with the "before baking" crowd. Standard homemade pizza growing up was dough, olive oil, hand-crushed canned plum tomatoes, good anchovies, and a small sprinkle of dried basil. It was the only kind of pizza this former chowpuppy knew for many years.

              2 Replies
                1. To get off point . Anchovies where can I buy smaller amounts of the salt cured ? .All I see are cans that are to much for my wife to handle in the ice box .thanks

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: scunge

                    depends where you live. i have italian grocers where i can buy salt-cured anchovies by weight.

                  2. I'm not keen on the dry texture either. If I want a fishy hit on my pizza I use flaked tinned sardines instead as these crisp up on the outside but still retain their moisture underneath. You don't get the same intense salty tang but good none the less.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Paprikaboy

                      I've never considered sardines for pizza. I'm assuing olive oil packed? Do you half them, remove some bones? Tomato sauce or white pizza? Please share more.

                      1. re: pagesinthesun

                        I use sardines in olive oil. No need to remove the bones as they are soft. I just break them up so they're not too big and are evenly distributed , about 8 pieces for a small one person pizza. Tomato sauce pizza not white.
                        Sometimes I just buy a good quality ready made margarita and tin of sardines.

                        1. re: Paprikaboy

                          Sounds great! We always make two smaller pizzas out of one crust. I'll make this for myself next time! Thanks for the idea.

                    2. I LOVE anchovy pizza. I prefer when they are put on before the pizza is baked as I think it brings our the saltiness of the fish and I prefer the drier, less oily texture. Sometimes we do take out pizza and I add them just before eating, but I don't like it as much.

                      1. I personally prefer putting them on before cooking.