What Type of Fish Are Anchovies?

Anchovies
Studio Box/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Question: What are anchovies?

What are anchovies?

Answer: Anchovies are a small, shiny, silver fish of the Anchoa (North America) or Engraulis (Mediterranean and European) family. Similar to herring, they run in large schools.

Because they are small, generally 5 to 8 inches in length, anchovies are often confused with sardines (Sardinella anchovia). In some areas, the terms anchovy and sardine are used interchangeably.



The minuscule scales are virtually non-existent and the skin is perfectly edible. Anchovies are native to the Mediterranean and thus very popular in the local cuisine.

Many people instantly disdain any recipe made with anchovies, immediately thinking of pizza or perhaps antipasto salad. Those same people probably vastly enjoy Worcestershire sauce, remoulade sauce, and , all of which classic recipes contain anchovies. Many, many recipes use anchovies for a punch of flavor where the anchovies are neither recognizable visually nor by the taste buds. Anchovies are often that secret ingredient that you just can't put your finger on, the one that really makes the recipe pop.

More about Anchovies:

Anchovy Cooking Tips and Hints
Anchovy Selection - Buying Anchovies
Anchovy Equivalents, Measures, and Substitutions
Anchovy Recipes