Anchovy Vinaigrette, or Anchovy Salad Dressing

anchovy_vin_A big part of my summer meals consist of bowlfuls of salad leaves, topped with tomato, sometimes other raw vegetables, and proteins, such as cheese, egg, ham, bacon, canned tuna…. I often change both the toppings and the vinaigrettes, but none of the dressings I have tasted produces the effect comparable to this anchovy vinaigrette: it has this irresistible je-ne-sais-quoi characteristic of umami-packed food.

Canned or salted anchovy is hated by many people, but if mixed and used in correct amounts, it improves flavours in a very discreet way and thus can be enjoyed by all. I am a big fan of anchovies on their own (anchovy pizza is the only one I’ve been ordering for years!), so I’d like to propose also an “anchovy lovers” option. The latter, apart from mixed anchovy, has an additional amount of chopped anchovy added to the sauce  for a double anchovy taste (this is the one you see at the photograph above).

As for the source – or rather inspiration – of my recipe, I once saw an anchovy vinaigrette mentioned on a British tv cooking program, but don’t remember where exactly and didn’t write down the recipe. A couple of weeks ago I simply added anchovies to oil, vinegar and garlic and… it worked!

If you are an anchovy fan, you might also like this Spanish salad:

Egg, Pepper and Anchovy Salad
Egg, Pepper and Anchovy Salad

TIPS: This dressing is perfect for both salad as a full meal or as a side-dish (only leaves and maybe tomatoes). If you want to try the above salad version, I’ve put there a boiled egg, capers, mini tomatoes, dill and ground pepper. The tomatoes are dark because it’s the black Crimean variety.

Obviously you can use here both canned and salt-preserved anchovies. I never see the salted ones, so cannot tell you what difference in taste they make. If you are not a huge fan of anchovies and simply curious about the taste of this vinaigrette, start with half of the anchovy amount I wrote.

You can replace a part of olive oil with the oil from anchovies (if you use anchovies in oil), but don’t skip olive oil.

Preparation: 5 minutes

Ingredients (serves two): 

2 slightly heaped tablespoons of finely chopped drained canned anchovy (+1 more if you want the “anchovy lovers” version)

4 tablespoons olive oil (or a part of olive oil and canned anchovies’ oil)

1 big clove garlic, squashed or grated

6 (or more) tablespoons wine vinegar

Mix everything in a food processor (a baby food processor is very useful here) or mash well the anchovies with a fork, then mix well with the remaining ingredients. (Afterwards, add the chopped tablespoon of anchovies, if making the strong-flavoured version.) Taste and add more oil/vinegar, if needed.

This vinaigrette will keep for at least a week in the fridge, so it’s a good idea to make a bigger amount.

14 Replies to “Anchovy Vinaigrette, or Anchovy Salad Dressing”

    1. You should probably taste them in a sauce first, but I remember tasting them for the first time in my life on a pizza and this is how I fell in love.

  1. I make a similar dressing but also add 15 mL mayonnaise, it’s so delicious. I generally use anchovies in a jar (oil and salt) but sometime I use anchovie paste which comes in a tube.
    Your salads looks quite scrumptious, beautiful colours.

    1. Thank you so much, Eva. The black tomatoes look sometimes not very appetising…even if they are not really black.
      I have never added mayonnaise to any salad leaf dressing! It’s funny because I love mayonnaise with rice or pasta or potato salads…

  2. I loooove anchovies, but never made a dressing with them, why haven’t I ever thought about that? I am definitely making this soon.

    1. Hi, Adina. If you are an anchovies fan, then there are chances you’ll like this dressing too. I hope you will!

  3. OK – I have to admit that I’m not a fan of anchovies. In fact, I really, really don’t like them. However, I do love a mild anchovy dressing, but I have never made one. As always I love the simplicity of this dressing and of course a whole garlic is perfect. I would probably start with just 1 T. anchovy and go from there. Bobby would eat what I don’t use because he loves them. 🙂

    1. Hi, MJ. Anchovies are apparently one of the few differences in our beloved food products! (Together with pumpkin which I think you like, contrary to me…). I hope the one tablespoon will not be too much for you…. at worst your husband will be happy!

  4. It is my latest discovery! I add it to almost all my sauces! I love the discreet salty touch it gives to everything and I love your salad!

    1. Thank you so much, Katerina. What a coincidence! You must share your anchovy tips on your blog one day. I’m very curious about the way you use them.

  5. Yes to bowls of green through the summer with energizing protein. And let’s face it, when it comes to meal salads, it’s all about the vinaigrette 😀 (well, not all, but…). I only use canned anchovy (or more commonly anchovy paste) so this suits me just fine as it delivers all the briny taste I adore in a simple, accessible format. I love the look of this nourishing bowl Sissi. I hope you’re having a beautiful summer!

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. I hope you’ve had lovely holidays! I’ve never used the anchovy paste, but I must test it one day too.

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