This basic anchovy vinaigrette recipe is one of the cornerstones of fine home cooking for me. Think of it like Ceasar salad's lighter, more delicate cousin.
I keep a number of simple vinaigrettes in jars around so I can make salads and have them on the table in seconds. Anchovy vinaigrette, along with a basic white wine vinaigrette, is one of the tried and true staples.
To this day though, even after people have lived through the Ceasar salad craze of the 20th century, I'm still surprised at how many people recoil at the word anchovy. For the record, anchovies are an amazing tool in your flavor kit, and if you're not using them, you should be.
Make it by hand or in a food processor
If you don't want to use a food processor you can also make a rustic anchovy dressing by hand. The images below illustrate the process. It's quick and easy.
How to use it
The vinaigrette makes about a cup, which is a lot--a little of this stuff goes along way, just like anything rich in saline glutamates like fish sauce. It's more than something you can put on a salad though, here's a few ways I'd use it:
In Italian cuisine, bagna cauda translates to "hot bath". Traditionally the hot bath is a warm blend of anchovies, garlic and oil, but the vinaigrette works fine there too. There's no need to even heat it up, just make sure it's liquid, and use it as a dip for mild vegetables like radishes, small turnips, boiled eggs, artichokes, etc.
Dressing for fish
Lightly seasoned or grilled fish is excellent drizzled with a small amount of anchovy vinaigrette.
Lighter take on the classic Caesar
Everyone loves a good Caesar, and the flavor here is really similar. For the first time you serve it to people who might cringe at the word anchovy, try finishing the salad with a tiny bit of grated parmesan and calling it a "quick Caesar".
Basic Anchovy Vinaigrette
- 1 Highspeed blender or food processor
- 1 Pint mason jar for storing
- 1 tablespoon (30 grams) anchovy paste
- 2 oz ¼ cup fresh lemon juice *See notes
- 6 oz ¾ cup blended olive oil *See notes
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- Grate, press, or mince the garlic and combine with the lemon juice, anchovy paste, Dijon, salt and pepper in the bowl of a blender or food processor.
- Drizzle in the oil slowly, along with the tablespoon of water, running the machine on medium-high, until you get a creamy emulsion. Store in a pint jar in the fridge and shake before using.
- Instead of anchovy paste, you can use the same amount of drained anchovy fillets. 30 grams will be about half of a small 2 oz tin of anchovies.
- Only fresh garlic should be used here.