Coining that phrase on last night’s episode of Beat Bobby Flay, Bobby likened these tiny fish to one product that nearly everyone enjoys: bacon. As both ingredients are deliciously salty, they’re capable of imparting rich flavor and transforming a dish to next-level deliciousness with minimal effort. The host reached for anchovies as he worked on a crispy, spicy topping for Cauliflower and Mushroom Mac and Cheese, and while his competitor wondered if they would complement dairy, Bobby’s dish indeed wowed the judges, who deemed his offering the best of the day.
While bacon is crunchy, anchovies are tender and can be broken down, so if you incorporate them into a dressing or dissolve them in a sauce — or opt for anchovy paste instead of whole anchovies — you’ll be able to enjoy their deep taste without biting into a whole anchovy or seeing them laid atop a salad or bowl of pasta. “You could get a lot of good flavor out of anchovies,” Bobby said, which is why he softened them in a mixture of breadcrumbs, Calabrian chilies and olive oil in his crispy topping.
Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite recipes with anchovies and anchovy paste below to experience their robust flavor firsthand.