20 recipes that prove why anchovies should be everybody’s favourite ingredient

This salty little fish is great in many a dish, and there’s a reason why anchovies are so loved by chefs and home cooks alike. We bring you 20 of our favourite anchovy-centred recipes – from bagna cauda to puttanesca ragù – and explain why the tinned fish is so good at making other ingredients taste better, too.

20 recipes that prove why anchovies should be everybody’s favourite ingredient

Why are anchovies such a good ingredient?

Anchovies are preserved in salt, so they deliver an intense hit of flavour to a dish without a whole lot of fishiness. When you cook with them at the beginning of a dish, they melt into the sauce or fat they’re being cooked in: this means they don’t overwhelm other ingredients but they do add a bold, much-welcome savouriness.

Their salinity also means anchovies bring the best out of other ingredients, drawing moisture out of vegetables and meat just as salt does. This process makes many other ingredients (be that chicken, tomatoes, eggs or tuna) taste even more of themselves. For more information about seasoning in cooking, check out our guide for how to season without salt.

Our favourite brands of anchovies for eating and cooking

In our eyes, all anchovies are good, but there are some to look out for that will take your dishes to a higher anchovy plane.

The pink and plump ones from La Monagasque (available at Sainsbury’s) are our favourite value option. If you have a bit more cash to spend, it’s worth seeking out Cantabrian anchovies from Waitrose or the Tinned Fish Market – we love the Zallo brand. For eating straight from the tin (or in recipes where the anchovies won’t be cooked, such as the gildas below), we recommend Olasagatsi and Angelachu anchovies, which also make great gifts for the tinned fish lover in your life.

Finally, there are pickled anchovies, known as boquerones in Spain, which bring a brilliant acidity to balance the saltiness. These are available from fishmongers or in the deli section of some supermarkets, and they’re so good you can eat them straight out of the packet or on toast.

Our 20 favourite anchovy recipes

Ultimate caesar salad

Perhaps the world’s most famous salad, the caesar gets so much of its seasoning from anchovies, which are mixed with egg yolk, olive oil, garlic and lemon for a dressing that’s so much more than the sum of its parts.

Caesar salad

Globe artichokes with anchovy dressing

Picking and trimming artichokes IS a faff, but do you know what makes it worth it? This anchovy, lemon and mustard dressing, that’s what!

Globe artichokes

Puttanesca focaccia

The best focaccias take time, and this puttanesca focaccia is no different. You can make this recipe in a day, but for a real hit of flavour, try the three-day method: it’s low effort, high reward (you just need patience). When it comes out of the oven, make it glisten with olive oil, tomatoes, olives, anchovies and capers. A summer must-bake.


Chilli-pickled asparagus gildas

Our twist on the classic gilda – the Basque bar snack of olive, a salted anchovy and one or two pickled spicy guindilla peppers – features quick-pickled asparagus for a satisfying vegetal hit without quite so much heat. We love it!


Tuna and anchovy pasta

Sometimes you fancy pasta but you’re not in the mood for a classic red sauce or a creamy sauce. That’s where this tuna and anchovy pasta comes in! Rich from butter and slow-cooked onions, savoury from anchovies and olives and hearty from tuna, it’s a winning dinner that’s ready impressively fast.

Tuna and anchovy pasta
Peppers with anchovies, garlic and basil

Anchovies bring the sweetness of peppers to the forefront, so it’s a great pairing in this simple summertime starter. You can char the peppers on an open flame or on a griddle for extra smoky flavour.

Peppers with anchovies

Pan bagnat

This classic niçoise sandwich is not as famous as the salad version, but it packs as much of a punch. We love it because it’s one of those sandwiches that actually improves with – in fact, it needs – time spent wrapped up in your lunchbox. The flavours meld together, the bread gets a little bagnat ‘bath’ and the whole thing is unified as one almighty lunch. A perfect picnic or beach sandwich.

Pan bagnat

Swedish leg of lamb with anchovies and potato gratin

Lamb and anchovies are brilliant together, and in this Scandinavian roast lamb recipe you’ll see how just a few ingredients can turn lamb into something extra special.

Swedish leg of lamb

Tuna puttanesca ragu

This pasta is RICH and it’s perfect all year round. Olives and capers become a sort of mince, which gets gently simmered like a ragù for a meat-free pasta with an impressive depth of flavour.


White bean crostini with anchovy lemon salsa

The anchovy salsa in this recipe makes for a wonderfully easy make-ahead starter for a party. Here it’s served with a white bean purée but it would be just as fantastic on top of burrata, ricotta or mozzarella.

White bean crostini

Tomato and anchovy salad

This salad demonstrates how well anchovies can bring flavours out in the other ingredients it’s paired with. With just five simple ingredients, it’s a perfect side dish for all your summer feasting.

Tomato and anchovy salad

Potato pissaladière

This wonderful lunch recipe takes the already brilliant Provençal pissaladière and adds potatoes. A pinch of cinnamon in the onions works in harmony with the saltiness of the anchovies.

Potato pissaladiere

Puttanesca pizza

This delivers the classic pasta ingredients in pizza form and, let us tell you: it’s just as satisfying. The plentiful anchovies, capers and olives are so flavourful, this pizza doesn’t even need cheese – if you can believe it.


Piedmontese bagna cauda

A classic Italian sauce made with garlic, anchovies and olive oil, this is the quintessential Piedmontese dip. Enjoy it with crudités, cooked potatoes or bread for a fantastic starter.

Bagna cauda

Slow-cooked chicken puttanesca

Chicken and anchovies are a rocking pairing, and this easy slow-cooked number is a two-step process that rewards, big time. We love it for batch-cooking and freezing.

Slow cooked chicken puttanesca

Pissaladière scrolls

This bake is likely not one you’ll have tried before, but it’s a phenomenal one to take to a picnic. In Anna Higham’s recipe, the ingredients from the classic Provençal tart are wrapped in a rich brioche to make beautiful savoury scrolls – so full of flavour…

Pissaladiere scrolls

Anchovy spaghetti with chilli, garlic and pangrattato

In this clever-as-anything dish from Michelin-starred chef Jun Tanaka, the French soupe de poisson is reimagined as a pasta sauce. The intensely umami-ish anchovy dressing coats the spaghetti and samphire. It’s a must-try!

Anchovy spaghetti

Garlic, anchovy and olive flatbreads

These simple flatbreads are topped with garlic, anchovies and olives for a wonderfully savoury accompaniment to dips, stews or grilled meat and fish.

Anchovy flatbreads

Spinach croquettes with garlic aïoli

These light spinach and ricotta fritters are served with homemade anchovy aïoli for dipping. A gorgeous canapé or starter that says you made an effort in just the right way.

Spinach fritters

Steak with anchovy and caper butter

Anchovy butter is a thing of beauty, and it’s brilliant paired with meat such as steak in this simple dinner recipe. No bashing is needed either – you make the butter in a pan for less work on your part and just as much flavour.

Anchovy butter

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