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Why You Want Anchovies in Your Diet

9:00 AM EDT on April 26, 2023

plate of anchovies

Photo by Andrew Cotto

It’s symbolic that the anchovy has finally begun to please the American palate. For generations, this little fillet was generally looked upon with disdain by Americans staring through partitions at pizzerias. But thanks to the embrace of Mediterranean eating habits, the anchovy is ready for its spotlight, and we at Appetito could not be happier about this.

First of all, anchovies, with more Omega-3s and calcium than any other fish and no mercury, are one of the healthiest and most sustainable foods on the planet. Just as importantly, these flavorful fillets are among the best secret ingredients out there as they can be folded into aromatics while cooking or in a marinade beforehand, leaving a zesty something-something that adds noticeable flavor without being distinctly noticed.

Another great trick with anchovies is to mix with a garlic puree and some oil for a baste of roasts that leaves a noticeable zing without any hint of fishiness.

A more obvious use could be dissolving a couple fillets into a simple pasta dish, like aglio e olio, while the garlic is being browned.  Also, see our recipes for "Sorta" Caesar Salad and Pasta Puttanesca where anchovies are front and center (where we believe they belong!). A somewhat decadent use of anchovy is the common Tuscan crostini of toasted bread with cold butter topped with an anchovy fillet. Don't be afraid! It's so good (and Tuscans swear by it).

But since we’re, first and foremost, talking about health here, let’s champion anchovies as a great way to enhance veggie dishes, such as a warm dip with olive oil and roasted garlic for raw veggies or this method for cranking up the flavor on broccoli rabe.

Broccoli Rabe in Anchovy Sauce

Broccoli Rabe in Anchovy Sauce

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Recipe by Andrew Cotto Course: Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time




  • kosher salt

  • 1 bunch 1 broccoli rabe, tough, non-leafy stems removed

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 Extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 cloves 3 garlic, minced

  • 2 2 anchovy fillets, drained (if packed in oil) or rinsed (if packed in salt), chopped

  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes


  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
  • Cook the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 1 minute (until it becomes bright green).
  • Remove from the boiling water and plunge immediately into the ice bath. Keep submerged until cool.
  • Remove from the bath and let dry.
  • Rough chop the broccoli rabe.
  • Coat a large sauté pan with the olive oil over low-to-medium heat.
  • Add the minced garlic, anchovies, and crushed red pepper.
  • Bring to a soft simmer.
  • Once the garlic is slightly brown and the anchovies begin to dissolve, raise the heat slightly, add the broccoli rabe and toss around in the oil/garlic/anchovy mixture until evenly coated.
  • Add more oil, if needed, and season with salt to taste.
  • Serve immediately.

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