Dried Headless AnchovyUpdate: 10/29/2014
Dried anchovies are the result of a process in which the small fish are caught, salt cured and then dried for preservation. The dried anchovy is a popular ingredient in many types of Southeast Asian dishes. From Southern India to Korea and Japan, dried anchovies are regularly used to add flavor to soups and stews, and they are enjoyed as a fast snack, condiment or side dish. Although the dried anchovy is known by several names, the process of curing and air drying the fish is consistent across the area. Both industrial fishing companies and artisanal fisherman create dried anchovies.
A dried anchovy is available in a variety of sizes, some better suited to certain uses than others. The smallest anchovies, measuring less than 3 inches (7.62 cm) in length, are best used whole in side dishes, used as a garnish or eaten as a snack. Large anchovies are preferred for stocks and other bases in which they will provide more flavor. Even though it is a purely personal preference, small anchovies generally are used whole, with the head and intestines intact. The larger anchovies sometimes have the head and intestines removed, mostly
A traditional method of processing and preserving anchovies is to gut and salt them in brine, allow them to mature, and then pack them in oil or salt. This results in a characteristic strong flavor and the flesh turns deep grey. Anchovies were also eaten raw as an aphrodisiac.
Because of the strong flavor, they are also an ingredient in several sauces and condiments, including Worcestershire sauce, Caesar salad dressing, remoulade, Gentleman's Relish, many fish sauces, and in some versions of Café de Paris butter.
For domestic use, anchovy fillets are packed in oil or salt in small tins or jars, sometimes rolled around capers. Anchovy paste is also available. Fishermen also use anchovies as bait for larger fish, such as tuna and sea bas
The strong taste people associate with anchovies is due to the curing process because some people feel that these sections can impart an "off" flavor to the dish.