fish, williamsburg cookbook

A Sallad of Anchovies

Yesterday was a cobbled-together sort of night. Chores like cleaning the hamster’s cage. Piano practice. A dinner of leftovers and random bits and bobs. Some schoolwork. The 1959 version of The Shaggy Dog (I don’t care how silly it is, it was one of my favorite movies when I was little). Mulled wine before bed.

Overall, a very nice night.

Let me tell you about this anchovy salad. I’m one of those weird people who loves anchovies. LOVES. In a Caesar salad, on pizza (much to Josh’s dismay), in pasta, mixed in with tuna salad….they are salty and deliciously fishy. I tend to keep a can or two in my pantry in case of emergencies.

Yes. I am one of those weird people who considers anchovies to be lifesaving in case of food emergencies.

(very modern anchovies)

Luckily, anchovies seem to have been quite the thing in colonial Williamsburg. The very first entry in the “Garden Stuff & Salads” section is this Sallad of Anchovies. It’s quite simple: you rinse the anchovies until the water (or wine, whatever your rinsing preference)* runs clear. Then you trim the tails and fins and “flip them from the Bones,” which I skipped because I was using scandalously modern canned anchovies. I also cobbled together the salad part; you’re supposed to garnish the anchovies with onion, parsley, lemon, and beetroot, but I only had onions and carrots. (I didn’t think Williamsburg would mind.) The final touch is a dressing of “sweet Oil with Lemonjuice.” According to the internet, that font of wisdom, sweet oil was the archaic term for olive oil. Apparently it was thought of as sweet! Who knew. Anyway, arrange your salad nicely on a small plate, and drizzle the dressing over the salad.

Now, if you’re ever tempted to give straight anchovies a try, this would be the recipe to use. The dressing dampens the intensity of the anchovies, while the carrots and onion slices complemented the flavor. This salad was definitely the best of my cobbled-together dinner.

But I can’t be the only one over here enjoying the anchovies. Come on and join me! They’re great!


*I used water, but really, I’d love to live in the kind of world where wine is an appropriate rinse.


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