For years I was convinced that I hated anchovies. I shuddered at the thought of voluntarily consuming them. I thought they were salty and smelled and tasted like a chum bucket (clearly something I eat regularly). Not something I wanted to eat.
But magazines and blogs and TV kept telling me that cooked I would like them. They were nutty and you couldn’t taste them. They just added that little something extra.
“Lies! All lies!” I thought yelled at the magazines/blogs/TV.
As it turns out they were all right. Anchovies are nutty (in a good way, not like Eddie Murphy in well, anything not animated in the last 10 years). I made a mistake. I love anchovies.
I love them in pasta. I love them in Caesar salad. I love them fresh, salted or packed in oil. What I don’t love is anchovies on pizza. That is gross and not acceptable. My dad spent my formative years ordering anchovies on pizza, and any hint of anchovy on my slice would cause me to freak the fuck out. It still might cause my to flip out, but in the name of maintaining my foodie street cred, I keep it on the DL. No, not the disabled list. On the down low.
Chances are, you’re like most of the world (and definitely me a few years ago) and think you don’t like anchovies. Well, if you like Caesar salad dressing, I think you will really like this dressing. The anchovies, wait for it, are nutty. Not fishy in the slightest. I know, I know, such a cliche, but it is true. Why? Because I said so.
I think that anchovy dressing, given that it is still has an assertive flavor, pairs best with other bold flavors. I had some heads of radicchio lying around that were just begging to be quartered and grilled. Hot off the grill and nicely charred, the radicchio is no longer a bitter background player, but the main character in an epic display of flavor. (Too far? Probably. My censoring knows no bounds). For creaminess, I add cannellini beans (from a can. What is this world coming to?) which help mellow the bitterness with every bite they are in. For crunch and freshness, add a big handful (or two) of chopped romaine and some croutons. Finished with a shower of grated ricotta salatta, it was a winter salad full of the big, hearty flavors I wanted with none of the guilt.
And it just dawned on my how amazing it would be with an egg (poached or fried) on top. Because what isn’t better with a poached egg on top?
Oh, did you want more than 2 only okay at best pictures that are almost identical? Well you don't get them because they were blurry and I didn't notice until I had eaten the salad. Ooops.
Grilled Radicchio Salad with Anchovy Dressing (printable)
The measurements for the salad aren’t exact. I wasn’t really following a recipe, but my dad tried a bite of the salad, looked at me and said “You’re blogging this right?”. If you can’t find the ricotta salata, you can use parmesan instead but start with 1/4 cup add more as needed
And I know you think you don’t like anchovies, but my grandfather, who hates fish ate the salad--dressing and all--without noticing the anchovy. If you really can't wrap your head around anchovies, use your favorite garlicky dressing instead.
5 fillets anchovies
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or more to taste)
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
In the work bowl of a small food processor, blend the anchovies and garlic until finely minced. Add the red wine vinegar and lemon juice and pulse to combine. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Check for acid and season with salt and pepper.
For the salad:
3 heads radicchio
1-2 handfuls of torn romaine lettuce
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup grated ricotta salada
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and pepper
1 recipe anchovy dressing
Preheat a grill or a broiler over high heat. Remove the tough outer leaves from the radicchio, and quarter through the core, so the pieces stay together. In a large bowl, toss the radicchio with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on the hot grill, and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until the whole thing is charred.
Allow the radicchio to cool to room temperature then slice into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the romaine, almonds, cheese, and beans. Toss with the anchovy dressing the juice from the 1/2 lemon. If using, add the croutons. Serve immediately.