There’s nothing fishy about it. Anchovies are a great source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Why is this important you might ask?
Most Americans are deficient in omega-3s and as a result are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory disorders, and mental and emotional problems. Recent research suggests that supplementing the diet with omega-3 fatty acids not only can reduce these risks but can also help treat depression, bipolar disorder, autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Fish is, indeed, a brain food and because anchovies are so rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, they make a delicious way to include Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. The Natural Resources Defense Council categorizes anchovies as fish with the least mercury that are safe to consume.
This small fish packs a big nutritional punch. Twenty grams of fresh anchovies (that’s about five fillets) has 26 calories, 4 grams of protein and have .3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. This equals 19 percent of the recommended daily requirement for men and 27 percent for women. Twenty grams of fresh anchovy fillets have 2 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium, 3 percent of calcium and 5 percent of phosphorus. All three minerals are essential for the growth and maintenance of strong bones.
Anchovies are silver, slender salty little fish found mainly around the Black Sea, the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Mediterranean waters. Because their delicate flavor doesn’t last long after they’re caught, they are filleted, salt-cured, and packed in oil or salt in tins or jars. The jars and tins make them convenient to keep on hand.
Oil packed: Once a tin of anchovies packed in oil is opened, you can store them in the refrigerator – discard the tin and keep them in a sealed glass container – for up to two months. Make sure the fillets are covered in oil during that time to keep them fresh.
Salted anchovies: a little more work but these are particularly flavorful and the choice of many cooks. The backbone and tail only take a few seconds to remove. Then, soak the fish in cold water for about 15 minutes. Once the can is opened, keep the remainder in an airtight glass container covered with all of the salt and brine.
Water-packed: Don’t be fooled by the word “water” they are usually packed in a salty brine. One easy way to prepare these is to mash them with mustard, sweet onions, and garlic. Use as a delicious, healthy spread on your favorite sandwich or as a condiment with many dishes.
Try replacing salt with anchovies in your favorite recipes. Don’t like the taste of anchovies? Don’t worry, anchovies melt away and blend into whatever you are cooking them with. They don’t leave a fishy taste, just a salty one and a flavor that adds umami to your dish. Umami has long been an obscure culinary concept that was first identified by a Japanese scientist a century ago. Hard to describe, it is usually defined as a meaty, savory, satisfying taste and is now known as the fifth taste.
Caution: Anchovies are frequently purchased in cans or jars; this means they are high in sodium. Remember, prepared anchovies are first preserved in salt and then packed in oil or more salt. Even when the product states it’s packed in water, that usually means it’s I in salty brine. Twenty grams of fresh anchovy fillets have 21 milligrams of sodium, but the same serving of prepared anchovies can have more than 700 milligrams, depending on how the fish were processed. Eliminate some of the excess salt by rinsing the fillets or soaking them in cold water for 30 minutes. Daily intake of sodium should be limited to 1,500 milligrams, according to the Institute of Medicine. If you have high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney disease, keep track of your daily sodium intake. If you are on a salt free diet, do not use anchovies to salt your food.
Serious Eats is a website that publishes the results of taste test they conduct on various products. Here are the results on their quest to find the best tasting anchovies:
I’ll leave you with one thought:
Be daring and creative in the kitchen in order to find the best food choices that offer the healthiest rewards. Search the web for recipes and step out of your box to discover exciting new ways to eat healthy!
If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. Katharine Hepburn
Bon appitite’ mon Cherie,