I’ve never particularly liked anchovies. To me they are great in small amounts, such as when I make a Caesar salad. But if I am faced with a pizza with those furry strips decorating the top, I will select the piece with the fewest anchovies.
In several of my recent readings, they made references to colatura di alici (a fish sauce made from anchovies). One article in Slate actually had the heading “The Italian Anchovy Juice That Might Change Your Life.” Well, that sounded intriguing, so I decided to research what many were describing as “liquid gold.” It was noted in The Wall Street Journal that in 2011 Lidia Bastianich said it was her ingredient of the summer. And Erica De Mane called it “an elegant stinking syrup.”
I ordered a bottle from Amazon.com, and I found it not to be stinky at all. There is a fishy smell to it, but it is subtle and not overwhelming. It also tastes of fish but not in a fishy sense. It suggests more of an essence of anchovy instead of the little salt bomb I have come to think of when the word anchovy is mentioned.
It’s a product of the Amalfi Coast. It’s made by fermenting anchovies in brine, and it’s a condiment in Italian cooking. It adds a savory taste to a dish.
Wikipedia stated said that colatura di alici “has venerable roots. Both the Ancient Greeks and Romans had versions of colatura. In Rome, it was called garum. According to Pliny the Elder, garum was made from fish intestines and salt.” And who can argue with Pliny the Elder.
For the recipe click on Spaghetti alla Colatura di Allici.