I’m seeing anchovies in recipes more and more often, almost always with the disclaimer that they don’t make things taste fishy; instead, they increase the umami background in a dish. Used with discretion, they make food taste fuller and more balanced without standing out themselves. I became convinced of this years ago, but it seemed like people were still reluctant to recommend their use for fear of scaring off the fish-adverse.
Even here, with anchovies in the title, they’re not overbearing. Dave, who used to hate anchovies, had no problems with this salad. I love anchovies, so I loved this. Plus, it’s almost like a green bean-based caesar salad, and what’s not to enjoy there?
That being said, if you’re nervous about too much fishy flavor, just use two or three anchovies instead of six. (You’ll want to taste the dressing to make sure it’s salty enough though.) But I hope you’ll try it with some anchovies, because they really have a lot to offer to a dish. If you let it, this recipe can be a great introduction to a new ingredient.
Green Bean Salad with Anchovies and Peperoncini (rewritten but not really adapted from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s The Food Lab)
I replace half of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt. I was also too lazy to properly blanch the green beans, so I just boiled them for two minutes instead of four and then drained them and let them cool at room temperature.
2¼ pounds green beans, trimmed
½ cup mayonnaise
6 whole anchovy filets, chopped into a paste
2 ounces (about 1 cup) grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup sliced pepperoncini, drained
2 medium shallots, finely sliced
¼ cup toasted pinenuts
1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until they’re bright green and mostly tender with a slight crisp bite in the center, about 4 minutes. Drain the green beans and transfer them to a bowl of ice water. Let chill for about 5 minutes, until cold, then dry on paper or dish towels.
2. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, parmesan, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, and a generous grinding of black pepper. Coat the green beans with the dressing. Add the pepperoncini and shallots and stir to combine. Top with the pine nuts; serve.