As noted by Paesana, anchovies are packed with umami flavor, an often misunderstood and decidedly complex taste. This characteristic adds an extra dimension that pairs well with other flavors and can be heightened when combined with food that is also high in umami taste. Guy Fieri explained to the Food Network that he loves using anchovies when he prepares Italian dishes.
Anchovies are a perfect match for classic Italian flavors, especially when you consider that tomatoes and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese are also excellent sources of umami, according to the Umami Information Center.
If you’re still pretty skeptical but are open to experimentation, follow Fine Dining Lovers’ recommendation and dissolve the little fish in oil over the stovetop to use for sautéing aromatics. The subtle addition will infuse depth and flavor without overpowering your dish.
Or let yourself be guided by Fieri’s palate and whip up one of his delicious Italian recipes starring anchovies, such as this anchovy bucatini recipe on the Food Network website. Perhaps the combination of umami from the anchovies with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and red peppers will make you wonder why you’ve waited so long to cook with the little fish. When your dinner guests ask you what makes the dish so flavorful, just smile and tell them it’s a secret between you and Guy Fieri.