Salty, tart and strong in flavour, this Anchovy Lemon Vinaigrette is not for the faint hearted! This salad dressing sure packs a punch!
Anchovies are one of those ingredients that splits the foodie world. Either you love them or you hate those little fish. I don’t believe I have ever met anyone who is simply ok with them and are happy to eat them or not.
That intensely salty, briny, fishy goodness is one of my absolutely favourite things to eat.
Growing up in Malaysia, I have been eating anchovies all my life. In fact, Chinese have been eating salted fish for centuries.
Again, another classic example of food borne out of poverty as salting and brining fish preserves it and therefore lasts longer. In a world of no refrigeration, this was an intensely popular way to keep them edible for a longer period of time.
Salted fish is best eaten with plain congee, stir fried in rice with chicken and egg or slowly stewed in a clay pot with chicken and mushrooms. Just writing this brings back so many culinary memories of home.
Anchovies in Malaysia are eaten deep fried. Often, they accompany peanuts and are also sometimes coated with sugar. Yes, sugar! It’s a great snack to have and extremely morerish.
But the dish that is synonymous with fried anchovies (we call them ikan bilis in Bahasa) is our national dish called nasi lemak. A coconut rice dish accompanied by eggs, cucumber, a hot sambal, anchovies, peanuts and a curry of some kind.
If all I could eat for the rest of my life, this would be it. Every time I return to Malaysia to visit my mother, she would buy me packets of nasi lemak, wrapped in banana leaf, of which I would usually devour 2, regardless of the time of day.
Then I’d have it for breakfast, snack, lunch and snack again!
When I came to Australia, I discovered fillets of anchovies in oil. I have also discovered I have expensive tastes as the ones I like sure costs a pretty penny!
My daughter has also taken a liking to them and nothing better than putting them on fresh bread. Nothing goes to waste as bread is then used to soak up all the leftover oil.
I love them pasta, Caesar Salad, pizza (yes pizza!) and of course in a salad dressing. It’s such a flavour bomb and really enhances a salad. It does! I promise!
Anchovy Lemon Vinaigrette Ingredients
Anchovies: These little pops of salty goodness will elevate a simple salad dressing to new heights. Give them a good pounding to ensure it infuses into the dressing effectively.
Olive Oil: Can’t have a good salad dressing with a good olive oil. You can add a couple of teaspoons of the oil that the anchovy is brining in if you’re after some extra fishy flavours. I do it but then again I love anchovies!
Lemon: To help cut through some of the saltiness, add some citrus.
Anchovy Lemon Vinaigrette Method
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the anchovies until it forms a paste.
It’s important that you do this well as otherwise you’ll get an uneven spread of anchovies throughout your salad. Some pockets will then be saltier than others.
Then add the olive oil, red wine vinegar and lemon juice. If your mortar is big enough you could mix it in that. Just ensure whatever method you use to mix the ingredients that it is well combined.
Best Salad for This Dressing
Once a ‘forbidden rice’ due to its rarity, this Black Rice Salad is an impressive recipe. Enhanced by the elusive purple broccolini, saltiness from the anchovies and the decadent undertones of buttery breadcrumbs, this salad deserves a place on your dinner table.
Anchovy Lemon Vinaigrette
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- Using a mortar and pestle, grind the anchovies until it forms a paste.
- Add 3 tbsp of olive oil, red wine vinegar and juice of ½ a lemon. Mix and grind until well combined.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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