Book Proposal for100 Ways to Do Anchovies(ghostwritten by Maureen Watts, Publishing Works, 01/02/12)Overview It’s been said that the world can be divided between two camps: thosewho love anchovies and those who hate them. Cookbook author Lynn Nicholsonand Pacific Northwest top chef and restaurateur, John Nelson, are clearly fromthe former camp, and are out to create many converts with their new cookbook,100 Ways to Do Anchovies. While Europeans have been enjoying anchovies for centuriesit’spractically been a staple in some areas of Spain, Italy, and FranceAmericanshave taken their time to warm up to this “super fish”. They’ve pushed up theirnoses at the mere mention of anchovies, proclaiming them: too salty, too fishy!“However, most people would admit to never having really tried anchoviesoutside of biting in to an overly salty, cheap anchovy fillet thrown on top of pizza,”says chef Nelson. The tides have been changing and Americans are beginning tooftenunknowinglyenjoy anchovies. While discerning diners are perusing menus,fishing for savory bites or entrees that have that special something flavor theycan’t quite put their finger on, unbeknownst to them in many cases, the littleanchovy is often invisibly tucked in to even the simplest dishes to provide the
depth, richness, and otherworldliness that only alone the little anchovy canprovide. If menus at top restaurants around the country are any indicator, theanchovy has become hot. At Anchovies & Olives restaurant in Seattleone ofBon Appetit’s “10 Best New Restaurants in America” they feature the Italian-inspired Bagna Cauda, Fried Oysters with Anchovy Dressing, and a Beet Saladwith a White Anchovy Dressing, among other anchovy-inspired dishes. Aftermostly making cameo appearances in Caesar salads and strewn atop pizzas,today’s chefs have begun to drop their “don’t ask, don’t tell” policies regardingtheir “secret ingredient” and are either slipping anchovies subtly in to their recipesor boldly placing anchovies front and center on their menus. Suddenly, it seems,people can’t get enough of the little fish with the big flavor. Whether served with tomato and mint on top of bruschetta, whirled in tosalad dressings, blended in to mashed potatoes, or used to infuse main dishes ofpork or lamb to add rich depth, many chefs use the anchovy as their go-toingredient for adding a rich, round flavor, and a sharp scent to a large variety ofdishes. “The anchovy is the culinary equivalent of the Wonderbra. It adds body toflat food. But like the Wonderbra, nobody should suspect it is there,” wrote JuliaWatson, food columnist for ivillage.com. The mystery behind anchovies is that they are loaded with “umami,” theso-called fifth taste, an element in certain foods that lifts the flavors of everythingit’s blended with. This means you can blend a little anchovy with a grilling
rublike one with red wine, olive oil, garlic, and basiland it will help all theflavors blossom while the anchovy will fade in to the background. “The real reason most people are opposed to anchovies or think theydon’t like them is because they have never tasted a good-quality anchovy,properly used,” says chef Nelson. The secret to learning to love the anchovy, heexplains, is knowing how to cook with them.About the Book The creative impetus behind 100 Ways to Do Anchovies stirred whenNicholson and Nelson were working on their cookbook, 100 Ways to Do Caesar.“I was doing research on anchovies for that cookbook, and realized there was nodefinitive book on anchovies,” writes Nicholson. “I also discovered that anchoviesare a lot of chefs’ secret weapon.” The cookbook also spawned from John andLynn’s mutual love of anchovies. “It’s like we couldn’t stop talking aboutanchovies, and coming up with new ideas for ways to use them in the kitchen,”laughs Nicholson. Nelson grew up in the Pacific Northwest where fish and seafood played abig role in his childhood experiences. “When I was a kid running around thedocks, we used to jig for anchovies…which I thought was really fun. We ate a lotof small fishes, and the natives all had smelt, herring, candlefish…they usedthem for their oils and to burn. Anchovies and small fish felt like an essential partof life.” Nelson’s Scandinavian roots are instilled with memories of his Swedishaunt making herring casserole for breakfast. “Oh my God, was that good,”exclaims Nelson. As a teenager, Nelson traveled through Europe and
remembers eating fresh anchovies, and wondering why people in the U.S. didn’teat these really healthy, little fish. Beginning with his very first restaurant, Nelson started cooking withanchovies. “From flat filets, to fresh or frozen, to paste. Because the flavorimparts so much….the fat is your flavor distributor, plus you have that salt whichis also a flavor enhancer,” says Nelson. “Anchovies have been one of my ‘secret’ingredients in my restaurant for years,” confides Nelson. “You know the saying:what you don’t know, won’t hurt you?” Over time, however, nosey dinersdemanded to know what was creating the depth, the divine ‘otherness’ of somany of his dishes. “So I told them,” laughs Nelson. “I guess the fish is out of thebag!” Nicholson also grew up in the Pacific Northwest, in Seattle, andremembers a restaurant at Pikes Place Market that served the classic BagnaCauda that she says “was to die for.” “That was my ‘ah-ha’ moment,” saysNicholson. “That’s when I knew anchovies were a really top-secret ingredient thatI wanted to incorporate in to my cooking.” Of course, I first started usinganchovies in Caesar salads. In my late 20s, I started making my ownWorcestershire sauce and fish sauce. So cooking with anchovies has alwaysbeen a part of my cooking.” Nicholson also has fond memories of eating fresh anchovies whiletraveling through Spain and Portugal in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. “I remembereating anchovies all the time there. Amazing tapas on the coast and inBarcelona. Cheap and goodespecially deep fried anchoviesthey servedfresh, grilled anchovies as well. We ate fresh anchovies for breakfast and when I
bit in to a succulent anchovy stuffed olives and manchego cheese withanchovies, I knew I would be in love with anchovies forever.” For nearly two decades, Nicholson collected recipes that containanchovies. From there, she began experimenting, utilizing the anchovy’samazing versatility, veering from the recipes to instill her own favorite ingredientsand flavors. When Nicholson and chef Nelson met and began working on theircookbook, 100 Ways to Do Caesar, the two were like a match made in the sea.Chef Nelson’s affinity for “anything fish or seafood” was equaled scale by scaleby Nicholson’s love for “all things anchovy.” It wasn’t long before the idea for 100Ways to Do Anchovies was born. “We wanted to show the versatility of the anchovy, that they aren’t just forCaesar salads or as a topping for pizza,” explains Nicholson. In 100 Ways to DoAnchovies, the two chefs reveal how anchovies are sensational additions toeverything from starters to salads, to main dishes and vegetables, as well assauces and seasonings. Home gourmands will become properly acquainted withhow to prepare the “king of fishes” in ways sure to spice up their culinaryrepertoire. 100 Ways to Do Anchovies has recipes for sensational starters likeCreamy Bagna Cauda, Black Olive Tapenade, and Anchovy Fries with SmokyCaesar Aioli to crisp Caesar Salad, to main dishes like Leg of Lamb withAnchovy Sauce, Zarzuela Seafood Stew, and Skate with Anchovy, Basil andRoasted Tomatoes, to classic Pasta Puttanesca, to exotic-tasting vegetables likeAsparagus with Anchovies and Capers or Onion Tart with Anchovy, to meaty and
rich sauces like Spicy Tomato Ragu or Arugula and Basil Olive Oil with AnchovyOnion. 100 Ways to Do Anchovies will give home epicures that inside edge withexciting new recipes harboring a “secret ingredient” while presenting bold newflavors usually only found at the finest restaurants, master-minded by trend-setting chefs. Best of all, all the recipes in 100 Ways to Do Anchovies are funand easy to make. Anchovies can be bought in advance as part of a well-stockedpantry, and can also keep up to a year in the refrigerator, making them bothconvenient and economical. Home cooks will delight in just how easy it is to turna seemingly ordinary meal in to something extra-flavorful and bold that will bringtheir cooking quite easily to a whole new level. “Anchovies are a powerful and indispensible ingredient any cook would behard pressed to replace. There are nearly endless ways to use them, and wewanted this cookbook to showcase the anchovy and to inspire home cooks touse them, experiment, surprise their dinner guests, and have fun,” says chefNelson. 100 Ways to Do Anchovies, authored by Nicholson with recipes fromboth Nicholson and chef Nelson, will appeal to both novice and experiencedcooks. Here is the premier guide to learning how to cook and enjoy the amazinglittle fish with the big flavor. The innovative and delicious recipes will provide awhole new range of tastes and flavors for the home gourmet, and will be anexciting and provocative addition to any home cooks’ kitchen bookshelfcollection.