Pros: easy to find, reasonable price, flat fillets, adds great flavor
Cons: unpleasant flavor when melted into oil
I grew up thinking, like most people, that anchovies were disgusting little bits of nastiness that crazy people put on their pizza. It wasn't until I started trying to become a better cook at the ripe old age of 30 and trying different recipes that I found in cookbooks that I started buying and using anchovies. I bought Cento Flat Fillet Anchovies that first time at the grocery store and I've been buying them ever since!
About This Product
Cento Flat Fillet Anchovies are exactly what they sound like: skinned fillets of anchovies that are packed flat into a can in olive oil. The can has a net weight of 2 ounces and simply contains anchovies, olive oil, and salt. The can states that this product is "semi-preserved" and should be kept in a cool place.
Each can contains about 4 servings. A serving consists of 6 pieces (with oil drained) and it contains 25 calories, 1 gram of fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 900 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.
Cento is a common brand in local grocery stores here in New Jersey. I can find cans of these anchovies in any store for about $3 each or even less if the store is running a sale.
I've been buying and using these Flat Fillet Anchovies for several years now. I love using them in Caesar and other types of salad dressings. We often entertain at the spur of the moment, so I like to know that I can whip up a zesty and flavorful salad dressing as long as I have some romaine hearts and a can of these anchovy fillets on hand.
I use these anchovies in homemade salad dressings all the time. They really do add a wonderful richness and flavor to salad dressings and both my sister and I agree that we will never omit them from those types of recipes again. If I had any complaint, it would be that there are just too many in one can for one use. I've tried saving half of them in a small GladWare container with their oil, but the leftovers seemed to spoil after just a couple of days and I wasn't ever able to use them.
Everyone at our formal Christmas Eve dinner enjoyed the grilled romaine salad that I made... until my husband announced to everyone that the dressing contained anchovies. At least half of the people stopped eating it which annoyed me. If they liked the flavor before they knew what was in it, why stop eating after? It wasn't like they were vegetarians or vegans.
I tried to cook with anchovies once and, well, it wasn't a good experience. Rachael Ray (who I don't particularly admire) always claims that melting anchovies into olive oil makes them taste nothing like fish and more like salted nuts. I'm here to tell you that her claim is a load of BS. Anchovies melted into olive oil taste like GARBAGE. I tried them in a pasta dish with wilted escarole and I knew things weren't going to be good as soon as the anchovies hit the oil.
At the end of the day, it is okay if melting these Cento Flat Fillet Anchovies into hot oil doesn't work because they are so so so delicious in a handful of different homemade salad dressings that I make.
I really like making salad dressings with these anchovy fillets which is why I always keep a few cans of them on hand at all times. At just $3 per can, they are reasonably priced and very easy to find in this area. I will definitely continue to buy this product again in the future!