Anchovies Are The Secret Ingredient For Extra Tasty Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is a tried-and-true appetizer that just about everyone enjoys. Warm and soft on the inside and crunchy and golden brown on the outside, what's not to love? You can pair this classic starter with Italian food, soups, leafy salads, or enjoy it just as it comes. And as much as we love traditional garlic bread, why not try experimenting with additional ingredients and complementary pairings? After all, cooking is all about exploring the boundaries of what we can do with food. Enter anchovies.

Anchovies are known for their salty, deeply savory flavor, while garlic bread is enjoyed for its buttery richness and allium aroma. When combined, the boldness of the little tinned fish is balanced by the pungent, herbaceous bouquet of flavors that garlic bread is known for.

Texturally, anchovies have a tender yet firm quality due to being cured in salt, and when you top your fresh-baked garlic bread with a fillet or two (or mash them into a paste with the garlic butter), you'll have a one-of-a-kind contrast in mouthfeel, adding both soft and crispy elements to each bite. It also helps that both anchovies and garlic contain compounds that contribute to an umami flavor profile, imparting a satiating, savory sensory experience that pairs well with a wide range of dishes. Again, we ask, what's not to love?

Pairing anchovy-topped garlic bread with main dishes

Toasty garlic bread topped with salty, fishy anchovies is a decadent snack as is, but if you're looking for more fleshed-out meals to pair this tasty appetizer with, we've got you covered!

Need a reason to roast a chicken? The succulent juiciness of tender roasted chicken harmonizes well with the savory allure of garlic toast and the intense saltiness of anchovies, imparting a symphony of elevated flavors. If chicken isn't your thing, herb-kissed baked lamb is an excellent substitute.

Since garlic toast is quite filling, you'll want to opt for a light pasta dish if you're taking the Italian route, which makes linguine with clam sauce the perfect main dish to follow anchovy-topped garlic bread. The delicate brininess of clams balances the rich, savory notes of anchovies, while the garlic toast adds a brittle crunch that complements the tender linguine and will transport you to the shores of the Mediterranean with each bite. 

If you're having a light lunch, pair your anchovies and garlic bread with a classic Caesar salad. The marriage between the earthy romaine lettuce and creamy Caesar dressing — which also contains anchovies — will give you a sophisticated midday meal. Next time you pass tinned anchovies in the grocery store, grab a couple and fire up the oven for an unsuspecting match made in culinary heaven.