WHAT IS AN ANCHOVY?
This marine forager is famous for its oil content. While often harvested when small, they can grow to over a foot (40 cm) in size. Anchovies tend to favor warmer, saltwater environments and are particularly abundant around Europe. They are one of the few natural sources of umami, or the 5th basic flavor (besides salty, sour, sweet and bitter). This fish is a critical source of food for marine predators higher on the food chain.
WHERE DO ANCHOVIES COME FROM?
They have evolved over millions of years which today might be crucially important. As the Earth’s temperature changes and oceans increase in acidity, the anchovies past success in similar marine environments long ago might allow them to survive into tomorrow.
WHEN ARE ANCHOVIES IN SEASON?
They spawn from late Fall until early Spring.
ARE ANCHOVIES ONE OF THE DIRTY DOZEN? (MERCURY)
No not at all, they are among the healthier options available today. The one exception is when anchovies that have fed off algae blooms are caught. They can then pass on the same toxin to humans that causes shellfish poisoning.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SARDINE AND AN ANCHOVY?
While the two fish are very similar in appearance, anchovies are thinner and contain more oil a.k.a. have a more intense flavor. For this reason, many Mediterranean recipes use anchovies to give their recipe that extra burst of flavor. Sardines in turn are longer and not a good substitute in recipes that require anchovies.