a samples of anchovies at the medieval agricultural and food fair
What's The Difference Between Brown And White Anchovies?
By Julia Mullaney
Different varieties of anchovies are used in many dishes to add a savory umami flavor, but they are also a controversial ingredient, as some people love their salty, fragrant flavor while others are appalled by their appearance and taste. When it comes to an anchovy's color and flavor, the biggest reason for the difference is whether or not the fish was cured between the ocean and your plate.
White anchovies retain their original color because they aren't cured and have a milder, sweeter flavor, meaning they are often served on their own — such as over crostini or in tapas dishes. They are still salted before being packed in oil and vinegar, but not nearly to the extent of cured fish, which uses salt and nitrates to preserve the fish.
Brown anchovies are filleted and fully cured for up to several months in a salty solution, which draws out the water and changes the fish's color to a deep brown. They have a stronger umami flavor, making them better at enhancing dishes like salad dressings or pasta sauces, and they do not need to be refrigerated until opened.