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An anchovy is a variety of saltwater fish that is primarily found in the Mediterranean Sea. It is small, approximately 6 inches (15.24 cm), and is often prepared in fillets and preserved in salt or oil, especially in areas throughout the world where fresh anchovies are not readily available. Although anchovies play a major role in traditional Mediterranean cuisine, one of the most common dishes that the fish is prominently featured in is anchovy pizza. Making a successful pizza with anchovies tends to depend mainly on correctly preparing the fish to prevent its pungent salty taste from overpowering the other flavors in the dish.
When preparing anchovy pizza, the specific type of packaged anchovy that is selected can make a difference in the overall taste and quality of the finished dish. Fresh anchovies tend to be considered to have the best flavor; however, they are typically only available in areas of Europe near the Mediterranean Sea or the English Channel. A commonly accepted substitution for fresh anchovies involves anchovies cured in salt, since it is thought by many that salt curing does not alter the taste of the fish as much as packing them in oil.
Another one of the best tips for making anchovy pizza is selecting other ingredients that complement the flavor of the fish. Since the anchovies have a rich flavor on their own, it is generally not recommended to prepare a pizza sauce that is equally rich, such as a cream-based alfredo sauce, béchamel sauce, or other white sauce. A more mild tomato-based sauce tends to pair well with the anchovies without making the dish overly rich. Some chefs even opt to forgo pizza sauce and instead use onions sautéed with garlic as the base for the pizza in order to just enhance the fish. For a cheese topping, more flavored varieties of cheese, such as mozzarella or ricotta, may be preferable to salty types, such as Parmesan, because it may help balance out the saltiness of the anchovies.
The process of preparing the base of an anchovy pizza generally depends on the texture that is desired for the crust. If a crispy crust is desired, it will typically require a longer cooking time; therefore, the crust may be baked prior to putting on any toppings in order to prevent overcooking the other ingredients. For a more mild flavor, the anchovies may be sautéed in oil before being placed on the crust with the other ingredients because cooking helps mellow out their strong flavor.
Anchovies on pizza? It’s a classic flavor combination that’s seriously good! Here’s how to make an Italian style anchovy pizza.
Anchovies on pizza? There’s a reason that real Italian pizza has anchovies: these little fish are chock full of savory, salty, umami flavor. What’s better than adding more savory and salty elements to a pizza? In addition to tasting great, anchovies are some of the most nutritious and sustainable fish on the planet: they’re full of Omega 3’s and protein. So why not add a few to your pizza? Anchovy pizza is a classic Italian dish that’s elegantly simple and perfect with a simple salad and a glass of wine. Keep reading for our best anchovy pizza recipe!
Anchovies on pizza
Wait: is anchovy pizza good? This is what I asked Alex when he told me he wanted to create an anchovy pizza recipe. While the majority of our recipes reflect our mostly whole food plant based diet, we do eat a small amount of seafood. But until now we haven’t eaten a lot of anchovies! Alex has read up on these little fish and found that they’re a little more sustainable than bigger fish (they’re low down on the food chain and require less energy for growth, and fisheries for anchovies have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions worldwide). They’re also a great source of omega 3-fatty acids and micronutrients like iron, magnesium and zinc. So Alex has been trying to incorporate them more in our diet.
There are lots of ways to incorporate anchovies in your diet: but why not on a pizza? It’s a classic Italian way to bring salty, savory flavor to dishes, and this pizza totally delivers. So is anchovy pizza good? It’s seriously, good. It’s one of the most savory and delicious pizza flavors you’ll try! Here we’ve accessorized the anchovies with tangy Kalamata olives and the fresh bite of red onion. It’s elegant and sophisticated: serve it with a side salad and a glass of frose and you’ve got one fantastic meal.
How to make the best anchovy pizza
To make the best anchovy pizza need a few special tools. If you’re interested in truly great pizza, you need two tools to make the perfect pizza crust:
- Pizza stone: A pizza stone is what makes Italian pizza crust crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Here’s the best pizza stone we recommend, and a bit more on pizza stone care.
- Pizza peel: A pizza peel is used to slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone in the oven. We recommend this Standard pizza peel or this Conveyor pizza peel. The conveyor pizza peel is absolutely worth the extra investment since it makes it very easy to slide the pizza out of the oven.
To make the best anchovy pizza, you’ve got to start with a good Italian pizza dough. Our best tip for next level pizza dough is to use great flour! The flour we use is called Tipo 00 flour; it’s what Neapolitan pizza restaurants use. It makes for a beautiful, supple and fluffy dough. Our other tip is to use a great pizza dough recipe! Our Best Homemade Pizza Dough is our preferred method; we make it in our stand mixer but you can also knead it by hand. Our Easy Thin Crust method is similar but makes a thinner dough that you roll out. Or, you can try our quick pizza dough made in a food processor.
Video: How to make pizza dough
Here’s is a video of Alex showing how to make and stretch the pizza dough, to show you exactly how to do it!
And that’s it: all our tips for making the best anchovy pizza recipe at home! Let us know if you give it a try in the comments below.
Looking for more pizza recipes?
Outside of this anchovy pizza recipe, here are some of our favorite pizza recipes:
This anchovy pizza recipe is…
Pescatarian. (All of our other pizzas above are vegetarian!)
To make pizza with anchovies, first briefly work the dough on a pastry board, then roll out into an even disc and transfer to a round, well-oiled pan .
List of Ingredients
- readymade dough
- 11 OZ. of ripe tomatoes
- 3 TBSP. of onion
- 8 of fresh anchovies
- Olive oil
- White wine vinegar
To make pizza with anchovies, first briefly work the dough on a pastry board, then roll out into an even disc and transfer to a round, well-oiled pan (10” in diameter), create a slightly raised border around the outside, and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely chop the onion and cook until soft in 4 tbsp oil. Briefly plunge the tomatoes into boiling water, then peel and add to the onion mixture along with 1 tbsp vinegar, salt and pepper, and cook the sauce for approximately 15 minutes. Prepare the anchovies, removing the heads and innards, then butterfly, removing the spine, then clean and leave to dry on a sheet of kitchen paper.
Spread out the tomato sauce over the dough, arrange the anchovies in a sunburst pattern, sprinkle with a chopped parsley sprig, flavor with 1 thinly sliced garlic clove, season with salt, drizzle with 2-3 tbsp oil and leave the composed pizza to rest for 10 minutes. Once the dough has rested, bake in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes at 475°F.
Photo by Randy Harris/Courtesy of Abrams Publishing
One of our favorite cookbooks this spring is Pizza Camp by Joe Beddia, whose Philadelphia pizza we declared the country’s best in 2015. The writing is hilarious, the recipes guarantee success (here’s a basic red and white sauce, but you’ll need to buy the book for the most important one: the dough), and there’s two picture of pugs that justify purchasing the whole thing. Read Beddia’s pizza rules here, and open your heart to anchovies in the excerpt below. —Alex Beggs
I used to hate anchovies. I can remember as a kid, before I really appreciated them, my parents (assholes) would get a pizza with half anchovies (for them) and half plain (for us). The problem was that the pizza place would cook the hell out of the anchovies until they had an intense gross fishy flavor that permeated the whole pie.
It was all a matter of finding great anchovies and figuring out how to use them. The thing with anchovies, as with prosciutto, is that they go through an extensive curing process. This makes them beautiful—salty, of course, but also fruity and addictively savory. Even the average anchovy in the tin can is cured and requires no cooking.
This is the simplest of all toppings. The key is to find a great anchovy. The best are generally from the Mediterranean and packed in salt. These fish need to be filleted and rinsed before eating. Normally the same company that offers the whole anchovy in salt also has the same fish filleted and in oil.
My favorite brand is Agostino Recca. These are the ones that we use at the pizza shop. The individual fillets are the same quality and a thousand times easier to cook with than the whole fish.
At Pizzeria Beddia we take anchovy fillets from Sicily and add them to the top of the pizza after it comes out of the oven. This allows them to melt a little, incorporate into the pie, and become aromatic. I usually try to break up one whole anchovy into two or three pieces over each slice—so about eight fillets total per pizza. Just don’t cook them!
And don’t forget to pair it with a wine that hails from a sunny, coastal place
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Share All sharing options for: The Next Pizza You Make at Home Should Be This Anchovy Pie From Austin’s Bufalina
Bufalina is one restaurant that’s consistently easy for Eater Austin editor Nadia Chadhury to recommend. Since its opening, it has been cherished for its Neapolitan pizzas. But while the pies get much of the spotlight, the restaurant’s wine list from local wine pro Rania Zayyat has garnered just as much of a following.
Zayyat, who curated the wines for Eater Wine Club in March — her theme was wines from the Mediterranean and Aegean seas — has a simple philosophy when it comes to pairing anything with wine. “As the saying goes, ‘what grows together, goes together,’ so when I’m thinking about what to drink with a bottle from Greece, for example, I like to look to indigenous ingredients,” Zayyat explains. In the case of Greek wine, that might mean spanikotpota, fish with herbs like oregano, and any sort of creamy cheese. And when it comes to pairing wine with pizza and all of its toppings, that can mean a whole lot of things.
Using Zayyat’s rule of thumb for this recipe for Bufalina’s white anchovy pizza, we recommend partnering the white anchovy pizza recipe below with wines that hail from sunny, coastal place: a Greek bottle to complement the pizza’s kalamata olives, or a wine from southern Italy or the Canary Islands to sing with the acidic San Marzano tomatoes. And for anyone daunted by the idea of making pizza dough, here’s one more recommendation: You can always buy dough from a local pizzeria.
Bufalina White Anchovy Pizza
Makes 6 (12-inch) pizzas
For the Neapolitan dough:
2 1/2 cups room temperature water
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
6 cups (900 grams) Italian 00 flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
For the pizza toppings:
1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, with juice (DiNapoli brand is recommended)
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
2/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
30 white anchovy fillets
Step 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, salt, and yeast and stir to dissolve. Add half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the mixture is fully combined, about 2 minutes. Switch to the dough hook, add the remaining flour and mix on the lowest speed until the dough is springy and elastic, 5 to 8 minutes. The dough will be quite stiff at first, so keep an eye on the mixer. Cover the mixing bowl with a damp towel and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours.
Step 2: Divide the dough into 6 equal portions, about 250 grams each. Form each portion into a ball and place each ball in a zip-top bag or put all of them in a large airtight container. Refrigerate overnight.
Step 3: Put a pizza stone on a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees. If you have convection or convection roast, use it. Heat up the pizza stone for 1 hour. Meanwhile, remove the dough from the refrigerator.
Step 4: Process the tomatoes in a food mill fitted with the largest disk or pulse them in a food processor until mostly pureed. Stir in the salt and set aside.
Step 5: When the pizza stone is fully heated, remove one ball of dough from a bag or the box. Gently stretch it out on a lightly floured countertop, using your fingertips to spread the dough out into about a 6-inch diameter. Place the round on the back of your hands and fingers and gently stretch the dough out until it is about 12 inches in diameter.
Step 6: Place the dough on a lightly floured pizza peel and spread 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the tomatoes over the dough evenly. Make sure to avoid getting any sauce on the peel or the pizza will stick to it. Spread 8 to 10 slices of garlic and 8 to 10 olive halves evenly over the dough. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of chili flakes.
Step 7: Carefully slide the pizza onto the pizza stone and bake until the dough is puffy around the edges and you see the sauce begin to bubble a little, about 2 minutes. Switch on the broiler and broil the pizza, watching carefully, until the edges of the crust are lightly charred, about 2 minutes.
Put the pizza on a large cutting board and cut into 6 pieces. Top each slice with an anchovy and a drizzle of the chile oil and serve immediately.
To make the remaining pizzas, return the oven to 500 degrees and let the stone regain some of the heat it lost, before sliding on another pizza and using the same bake-then-broil method. (The excess dough can be frozen in individual zip top bags; defrost it overnight in the refrigerator before using.)
Sardine Pizza is my go-to meal when I have canned sardines and onions on hand. This classic Italian recipe is really easy and delicious. You’ll want to make this homemade pizza over and over again!
My family loves fun pizza ideas, from Anchovy Pizza, Dill Pickle Pizza, and of course, this simple and delicious pizza with sardines and caramelized onions.
When I feel like making an easy pizza without too many ingredients, this sardine pizza is my top choice – it’s quick, easy, and tastes so much better than the store-bought pizza. It features a nice tomato sauce base with canned sardines, caramelized onions, fresh tomatoes, lots of cheese, and a sprinkling of parsley. Pizza night will never be boring again!
Table of Contents
Ingredients & Substitutes
Equipment You’ll Need
You can make the homemade dough completely by hand without any special equipment.
For the pizza, a regular pizza pan or baking sheet works well. If you’d like to make it more professional you can use a pizza stone and pizza steel.
How Do You Make Sardine Pizza
1. This recipe starts with pizza dough, which can be homemade or pre-made from the store.
2. Transfer the dough to a non-stick pizza pan, and stretch it by gently flattening the dough into a 12-inch circle.
3. Use a fork to poke holes across the surface of the dough.
4. Brush with olive oil and top it with a layer of tomato sauce evenly.
5. Add plenty of mozzarella cheese, sardines, and sliced onions.
6. Bake in the oven at 450 F degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until the cheese has melted. Serve and enjoy!
Tips for Sardine Pizza
- I recommend baking your pizza at a high temperature. I like to set it to 450°F. If you use a baking stone or cast-iron skillet, let it preheat for about 15 minutes. Once you put the pizza in the oven, it’ll take 12-15 minutes.
- If you like a thin and crisp pizza crust, make sure your dough is thinly stretched out. If you like a fluffy pizza, make your crust thicker.
- I prefer to use freshly shredded mozzarella cheese. The pre-shredded cheese often contains anti-caking agents and doesn’t melt well.
- Use oliveoil-based canned sardines instead of water-packed ones.
Sardines vs Anchovies on Pizza
Both sardine and anchovy pizza come out of Italy. Anchovy pizza is basically a Napoletana style pizza where a few high-quality local anchovies are added to Margherita pizza. The toppings of anchovy pizza usually include olives, capers, and basil in addition to anchovy fillets. Sardine pizza is much simpler, and usually the fish and onions are added.
How to make pizza dough
To make homemade pizza dough, all you need is some simple ingredients: all-purpose flour, yeast, water, sugar, salt, and olive oil. Follow the instructions to make the dough, and it’s really easy.
Let it rise for about 30 minutes. Remember that you don’t need to knead the dough after rising. Simply press it out gently with your fingers in order to preserve the air bubbles that make pizza fluffy. Use a fork to poke holes across the surface of the dough crust so it doesn’t develop large bubbles while baking.
What is the Best Canned Sardine Brand?
The best canned sardines are packed in oil, as water-packed sardines often taste a bit water-logged. Oil locks in the flavor and helps to keep sardines moist. Look for olive oil based sardines as it complements the fish well.
As for sardine brands, my favorite is Clover Leaf. Some other good options include Wild Planet Wild, King Oscar, and Matiz Sardines.
Is it Ok to Cook Canned Sardines?
Yes, absolutely. Canned sardines are already cooked so you’ll just reheat them. Cooking sardines with pizza is a great way to bring them to life.
If You Like This Recipe Try These Out:
- Anchovy Pizza
- Dill Pickle Pizza
- Pizza Cones
- Pull Apart Pizza
I hope you like this recipe. If you tried it, please comment below and let me know how your Sardine Pizza turns out!