I Am Allergic To Anchovies But Love To Cook Italian Food, How Can I Still Get An 'Anchovy' Flavour Without Killing Myself?


2 Answers

Yo Kass Profile
Yo Kass answered
An Anchovy is a small, salt-water fish that is used for culinary purposes in different countries, one of which is Italy.

The role of anchovies or acciuga in Italian cuisine is commonly as an antipasto, as topping on a pizza, or as an ingredient in various pasta dishes. Whilst their flavour is seen as something of a delicacy, there are unfortunately those who will be unable to experience it due to allergies.

Luckily, there are a number of options available that you can try out in your search for something to fill that anchovy-shaped void.

Firstly, it is important to bear in mind that the strong, salty taste that is associated with anchovies is actually due to the preservation methods that anchovies go through.

Capers are one recommended substitute to anchovies because of their salty, briny flavour - and including them in an Italian recipe will maintain that Mediterranean element to a dish. Alternatively, Karaka olives work along the same lines. Both these options have the added benefit of being vegetarian.

Adding a sauce that can replicate the saltiness and richness of anchovies is also another suggestion, with soy sauce one example. Worcestershire sauce would be a tasty alternative, but unfortunately has anchovies amongst its ingredients!   

One obvious temptation would be to opt for a similarly-treated fish. There are a number of similarly prepared fish that can take the place of anchovies, with Scandinavian pickled herring being one example, but the protein that causes reactions from ingesting anchovies is also conserved in a number of other fish so caution is advised if this is an option you are considering.
Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
Some people use capers to get a fairly anchovy-like taste. I've tried that and it does help. I've also seen a website recommending Thai fish sauce as an anchovy substitute - haven't tried it, but it might be worth experimenting.
thanked the writer.
robert kenny
robert kenny commented
probably 1/2 the thai fish sauces are made from anchovies or anchovy extract, so check out the ingredients. we found out last light that there is one here with an allergy to it after i used thai fish sauce in the stir fry that i cooked. luckily i didn't use too much as i wanted to save the last bit for my noodles today......oops

Japanese bonito flakes might be alright & together with capers could be a good substitute.

it is good to have a cast iron gut & be able to eat anything at all
robert kenny
robert kenny commented
apart from japanese bonito flakes, another one i have thought of that could be used as a substitute for anchovies is japanese "dashi" (also known as "hon-dashi") which is a powdered fish stock used commonly in miso shiru (miso = fermented soy beans & shiru = soup)

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