Do you ever buy something from the grocery store just because it grabbed your attention and you’re totally clueless on how to prepare it?
It happens often. This time, it was anchovies.
Anchovies are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. A 3.5-oz portion, which is the portion in this recipe, is packed with 2113 g of omega-3 fatty acids. Two thirds of this amount is DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid found in your retina and brain cells and has been shown to improve mental function. The other third is EPA, the omega-3 fatty acid that lowers inflammation. To put it into perspective, 3.5 ounces of cooked wild Atlantic Salmon have a total 2586 g of omega-3 fatty acids (368 g EPA and 1429 DHA).
The good thing about anchovies–other than the taste–is that they are small in size. Health-wise, that means they have less mercury and PCBs accumulated in them. They have a strong flavor, which explains why people either love them or hate them, so pair them with mild greens like lettuce or arugula, or spinach, but not kale. The tomatoes add subtle sweetness and the fennel adds a nice aroma and crunch.
The problem with anchovies is the salt. They are usually preserved with salt, olive oil, both, or other liquids. This post talks about the different kinds of anchovies and how they’re made.
The recipe serves two lunch portions. I tossed the label before I could read the nutrition information, so I can’t get the exact amount of sodium in the salad I made. According to NutritionData.com, 3.5 ounces of anchovies have 3667 mg sodium. That’s a lot. If you have high blood pressure, steer away from anchovies. If you don’t, enjoy this meal but don’t add more salt to the recipe and avoid foods high in sodium that day. Anchovies are not necessarily for every day, and a small amount goes a long way with the taste.
- 1 7-oz pack (or can) anchovies, drained
- 1.5 c cherry tomatoes
- 6 c lettuce or other mild salad greens
- 1/2 bulb fennel, about a cup, sliced
- 1 tbsp extra version olive oil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- juice of half lemon
- Pepper to taste
- 1/4 c grated hard Parmesan cheese
In a medium bowl, combine the anchovies, tomatoes, lettuce, and fennel. Drizzle the olive oil, vinegar, and lemon. Season with pepper. Toss. Top with grated cheese.
You can serve this with whole wheat crackers, crouton, or roll. You can also skip the bread and eat a piece of fruit afterwards. I usually like citrus fruit after fish–kind of cleansing.
Do you like anchovies? How do you prepare it?