Nigella Lawson Says This Dish Is So Good Even Anchovy Haters Are Impressed

Anchovies can bring out a lot of raw feelings in Americans. It's going to sound harsh, but per Food and Wine, no one likes them. Sorry, little fish. We don't mean to be haters, but in a Harris Poll from a few years back, anchovies ranked first in people's least favorite pizza toppings. Why? A writer at Town and Country believes it is due to the "cheap," low-quality anchovies that people in the United States are used to, while a Quora discussion conjectures that Americans are not fans of these little fish because they can be intensely salty, have "weird hairs," are "just gross," and many people simply "don't know how to eat them." 

Whatever the reason may be, Nigella Lawson, the British cookbook author and domestic goddess with endless culinary know-how, thinks that if you dislike the anchovy, she has a recipe that might change your mind. Lawson shared on "The Graham Norton Show" that while she doesn't want to stick an anchovy in front of your face and insist, "Try it," these little fish can actually taste like "the bacon of the sea" in a variety of dishes (via YouTube). Here's her easy recipe to start your anchovy-loving journey.

It's pasta with anchovies, tomatoes, and mascarpone

Lawson shared via Twitter, "#RecipeOfTheDay is quick, simple and luscious: Gemelli Pasta with Anchovies, Tomatoes and Mascarpone." If you can't find gemelli, Lawson went on, fusilli works well, and if you're vegetarian, you can use capers instead of anchovies. But to avoid giving anchovy skeptics an easy way out, she followed up with another tweet: "Though if you're not vegetarian and just ill-disposed towards anchovies, I must tell you that many self-professed anchovy-phobes actually love this!" 

So, what makes this dish worthy of an anchovy hater's love? The cookbook author wrote on her website about the recipe, calling it "simple" but "tasty." "I know no self-respecting Italian would let tomato seeds sully a sauce, but I do so very happily, and it's the gloop inside the halved cherry tomatoes that adds cohesion to the spicy, tangy creaminess." Lawson's recipe begins with cooking garlic, chili flakes, and chopped anchovy fillets in olive oil until the anchovies have "dissolved." Once you add tangy tomatoes and rich mascarpone to the mix — and then stir it all together with your favorite pasta shape — the little fish likely are quite subtle.

Perhaps there is some truth to Lawson's boast, as one follower commented, "I'm not a fan of anchovies as a rule but here they just add a depth of flavour. Delicious!" And another wrote, "I am hooked to anchovies now because of your wonderful recipes, a brilliant choice today." So, maybe it's time to give this controversial ingredient a chance.