I say Anchovy, you say Bleccch.
That’s just how it goes, and it’s unfortunate. I fully understand – my first experience with the feeder fish came on pizza, sort of as a dare, and all I remember is that its flavor enveloped (and ruined) the entire pie. It wasn’t until I lived in Seattle and had the Cauliflower Anchovy spread at Lola that I began to realize the potential of this boldly-favored, powerful little fish.
Encountering them again in Italy and at Italian restaurants in the states, served either on crusty bread, or solo, usually with parsley, served to further grow my respect for the fish, and their umami-packed flavor. And realizing that anchovies form the base of the traditional Caesar salad dressing proves that anchovies are a flavor-enhancement more than anything, and truly worthy of a Yessss rather than a Bleccch.
In this recipe, inspired by the wonderful handmade linguine I encountered at the Studio City Farmers Market this weekend, I hope to show that anchovies are not only accessible, but a crucial part of a dish that is simple, delicious, and perfect for a summer afternoon – even for a two-year old.
I’ve condensed the video (thank you Snapchat) I hope you enjoy.
- linguine, 8-12 oz.
- garlic, 4 cloves, slivered
- anchovies, 6-8 filets
- spinach, two handfuls
- fresh parmesano reggiano
- lemon, juice of one half, reserving other half
- boil a huge pot of water, adding a ton of salt. The water should taste like ocean.
- heat a large pan to medium, adding a healthy amount of EVOO, until the oil is glistening.
- add the garlic, and once that starts to crisp (but not brown), add the anchovy and mash until its a paste.
- put the pasta in the boiling water and cook as per directions (generally two minutes for handmade, 8-12 for store bought).
- add spinach to the pan and stir until wilted, coating with the anchovy/garlic mixture.
- once pasta is cooked properly, add it directly from pot into the pan, stirring until each noodle is coated. there is no need to drain prior to doing this, the excess water helps thin out the mixture and makes more for a saucy approach.
- I like to add a healthy squeeze of lemon at this point, and again prior to serving.
- grate parmesan on top, serve, and picture yourself looking out on to the Adriatic Sea.