Nov 13, 2015

Anchovy vs. Sardine

Speaking of fish, anchovies and sardines come from two different families, but they do share some traits - both are small, silvery fish that are available fresh, preserved, and canned.

Sardine is an imprecise term for any number of small, silvery saltwater fish related to the herring and found throughout the world. They tend to travel in large schools close to the water's surface and are harvested fresh in the summer.

In the US, sardines are usually canned in oil or sauce, salted or smoked. In Europe, larger sardines are also eaten fresh, roasted in the oven or cooked on the grill either whole or in fillets. The name 'sardine' may be a reference to the Sardinian coast, where pilchards were one of the first fish to be packed in oil. The sardine is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and generally considered to be a brain food.

Anchovy refers to a family of small fish found in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. There is no single “anchovy fish” to be found, but rather a series of aquatic relatives that make them recognizable to us as members of the same fish family. Anchovies are sold flat or rolled, filleted and either salt-cured or oil-packed. The curing process is comparable to that of aged hams in that it is basically the anchovy’s own juices that make it happen, with bacterial fermentation playing a supporting role. For most of human history this salt packing was the way that anchovies were sold.

In Europe, marinated fresh anchovies are eaten frequently, available in restaurants and Spanish, Greek, and Italian groceries. Known mostly for their strong flavor and aroma, anchovies can be soaked in water to remove excess brininess.