Most of us have, at some point, enjoyed hummus either as a dip with pita bread and veggies or as a condiment slathered over a falafel. The recipe is simple; grab a can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), garlic, tahini, lemon or lime juice, coriander and process in a blender. Hummus is a healthy substitute for mayonnaise or butter. That said, I went off it for a period of time as I found it boring until I decided to add anchovies…blame it on the anchovy butter I made a couple of weeks ago. Sure, you can jazz it up by adding sumac or cumin but nothing quite took hold of my taste buds the way anchovies did.
I have been using anchovy fillets since December 2001 when I took an Italian cooking class (7 sauces for your pasta). We were living in Singapore and I met Francesca. Her charm, culinary experience (an instructor at The Culinary Institute of America) and natural love for her country was infectious. I wanted to learn more. She showed how to make a proper puttanesca sauce using anchovy fillets. Before then I would have turned my nose up as I wasn’t a big fan of fish. The anchovies dissolve when added to the tomato sauce with no hint of any ‘fishy’ scent, just an amazing savoury flavour. Next time you make a beef stew, add these little guys.
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped (stems included)
2 teaspoons tahini (add more if needed)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
8 to 10 anchovy fillets (packed in oil), roughly chopped
extra-virgin olive oil
Add all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and pulse. If too dry, add more olive oil. Serve on toasted bread slices or use as a dip.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Save some of the anchovy oil and add to the dip. Enjoy!