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Mincing Anchovies

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2010

How do you mince anchovies finely enough to ensure even dispersal throughout a dish?

Anchovies are a potent source of glutamates and inosinates, substances that enhance the meaty, savory sensation known as umami. In the test kitchen we use anchovies to bump up the flavor in everything from beef stew to potatoes. To get the most out of anchovies, it is important to mince the fillets very finely to ensure their even dispersal throughout the dish. While a garlic press will do the job in a pinch, much of the meat can get left behind in the hopper. Here’s how to get maximum anchovy flavor.

1. Using a chef’s knife, cut the fillet lengthwise into 1/8-inch strips. Gather the strips in a bundle, turn it 90 degrees, and mince crosswise.

2. Using the back of a fork, press and smear the anchovies against the surface of a cutting board into a uniform paste.