When I hear various objections to eating healthy or changing eating habits, one of the complaints I hear most often is that healthy food does not taste good. Let's go ahead and eliminate that idea because frankly it's just not true. I used to teach a cooking class called Get Saucy! which showed people that combining just a few ingredients could really boost the flavor of your meal. Sauces are probably what your dinner is missing. I'm not talking about fancy French sauces that require special tools or fancy techniques. I am talking about ingredients you can find in your grocery store or that you may already have in your pantry. And the method for making the sauce could not be simpler. Maybe it involves a little chopping or perhaps heating on the stove, but that's it. And when food tastes good you're more likely to eat it.
In the past, I have featured on this blog such flavorful and easy-to-make sauces as Romesco, a surprising combination of roasted red peppers and almonds that is a real crowd favorite around here. Today I bring you another sauce which is just a handful of ingredients, thrown together and simmered on the stove. It's not taxing to prepare it, and yet it is so flavorful. It boosts everything from grilled chicken to roasted cauliflower. But I'm clearly having a hard time telling you about it. Why? Well, it contains anchovies. And anchovies for a lot of people are a hard sell, but in a sauce they add an addictive salty and umami element that makes you want to lick the plate! Well, it makes me want to lick the plate. Also, anchovies are low in mercury and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. They can be high in sodium so a little will go a long way.
The sauce I share today is just a lot of darn good olive oil, some minced garlic, capers, and anchovies. That's it. I'm pretty sure the hardest part of this recipe is actually opening the can of anchovies (why? why does it have to be so hard and dangerous?). I hope you'll make it and give it a try, especially if you have cooking fatigue, as many of us do from sheltering in place. One note, all measurements of ingredients, except the olive oil, are suggested. You are free to put in more or less garlic. My husband loves capers so I put in an obscene amount of those. If anchovies are not your thing, or you are just unsure about them, start with one. This sauce is super easy and super forgiving. Also, the recipe can easily be cut in half or doubled.
Garlic Caper Anchovy Sauce
Makes approximately 2/3 cup or less
1/2 cup really good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 to 2 tablespoons capers, drained and patted dry
1 to 5 oil-packed anchovy filets
Combine all ingredients in the smallest sauce pan you have. Place the pan over the smallest burner on your stove and turn the heat to low. You want to simmer the sauce, and keeping the heat on low ensures you will not burn the garlic if you walk away or accidentally check email for 30 minutes. Over low heat, it's really hard to screw up this sauce. Stir it every once in a while because you want the anchovies to mostly, if not completely, dissolve in the sauce.
How to serve: In a bowl passed at the table so people can choose their own amounts. We like it drizzled over roast fish, grilled chicken, roasted cauliflower, or baked fingerling potatoes. Enjoy!