Sardines and anchovies are oftentimes considered the lowest on the food chain because they are some of the tiniest fish you could eat. They don’t have the worries of mercury behind them the way swordfish do, nor do they have the massive farming issues that salmon does. I’ve really gotten into sardines in the last couple of years, but anchovies, for whatever reason, have intimidated me because of how naturally salty and fishy they are. I love them in authentic caesar salads, but in my actual cooking, I generally steered clear of them.
But then I found a Sicilian recipe for Sicilian pasta with sardines, anchovies, fennel, and toasted bread crumbs, and it attracted me immediately. I’ve been actively trying to use ingredients recently that I’ve been avoiding or ignoring, everything from dried Mexican chilies, fennel, cabbage, and now anchovies. This would help me expand what I’m comfortable with. It gets boring to always cook the same cuisines or the same dishes, and I get bored extremely easily with almost everything. I’ve made a number of Italian dishes, but have never made anything Sicilian. So I took a chance and actually made the dish today, and it came out incredibly well. The anchovies’ saltiness really spread, but just enough and without being overwhelming. I just used a small tin. I barely added any additional salt to the dish, and it turned out perfectly. Even Chris was skeptical but was convinced after he had a few bites. It’s the little wins that get me excited in the kitchen.