|Yes, this is that sort of post.|
We are historically an anti-anchovy household. Matty isn't a big fish man to begin with, and having spent a good portion of his evenings delivering pizza, his experience with anchovies is limited to the stench that creeps through the cardboard box of a $9.95 Saturday night special. But I keep seeing recipes with them. No. But what they sell at a pizza chain surely isn't the good stuff. No. They're how Alton Brown lost all that weight. No.
And to be fair, recipes really do abound for pasta with anchovies, garlic, and red pepper flake. Martha Stewart, The New York Times Dining Journal, and the Amateur Gourmet, where I first started paying attention, for starters. Tonight is the night we test out that forbidden frontier of umami.
Well, it wasn't exactly awful. No, no, not like that. It was surprisingly not fishy. In fact, it tasted more like Chinese food than the fishy mess I was expecting, which makes sense because fish sauce is a common ingredient in Asian sauces. No, this was hearty, and interesting. I'm sure I got the ratio wrong, the oil and pasta water didn't emulsify properly and it could have used a lot more red pepper flake. The house did not fill up with the smell of low tide. In fact, I took a little nibble on the end of a fillet right out of the tin and it was strong and salty, but not fishy. But I couldn't finish half of the dish. So where did this go wrong?
As to anchovies, I remain unconvinced.