Norður & Co Garum Fish Sauce Infused with Nordur Sea Salt
Originally used as a condiment by the Phoenicians and ancient Romans, garam is a fermented fish sauce that adds a rich umami flavor to savory dishes, oftentimes using oily fish. We especially love this version from Danish producer Norður & Co, which only uses autumn mackerel from Breiðafjörður. Autumn is the ideal time to catch mackerel, since it’s at the end of their fishing season and the fish have had time to develop a rich, fatty flavor by then. Mackerel is also a much more mild fish than those that typically are in fish sauces (anchovies, sardines, etc.), yielding a more mellow flavor and a light sweetness without the abrasive, too-salty kick that some fish sauces have. It’s also made with Iceland’s famous Norður salt—which is evaporated from arctic seawater and has an unmatched, clean taste.
IASA Anchovy Fillets in Olive Oil
The succulent anchovy fillets from family-owned company Ittica Alimentare Salerno (IASA) are nothing like the one-note over salted versions most people are familiar with—rather, these anchovies taste like the ocean they came from and still retain a meaty texture.
IASA Spicy Anchovies in Olive Oil
These spicy anchovies from Italy match a deep umami and oceanic tang with a bright chili finish. We melt them into our favorite marinara sauce, whisk them into dressings for broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts and blend them with tomatoes, herbs and extra-virgin olive oil for a quick bruschetta topping. Try smashing into softened butter with fresh thyme to put on salmon or our favorite combo, lamb chops.
Olasagasti Anchovies a la Basque
If you think about the typical can of anchovy fillets that you expect to cook with, these are radically different. While many tinned anchovies from supermarkets and even from specialty grocers can be overly salty, oily and fishy, these succulent whole fish taste clean and bright, with an extra boost of flavor that comes from their golden olive oil marinade. Bold, yet not overpowering, the marinade gets an aromatic boost from a whole cayenne pepper and whole clove of garlic, while wine vinegar adds an extra tang that takes it to another level. Yet the fresh flavor of the fish still shines. Olasagasti’s anchovies are caught at their peak every spring and are tender, yet toothsome, yielding a satisfying chew before melting in your mouth. Like other tinned fish, the spine is present and can be removed if you choose, but the canning process makes it brittle and soft enough that it’s completely edible—you won’t notice it.
Olasagasti Anchovy Fillets in Olive Oil
Caught at their peak each spring in the chilly waters of the Cantabrian sea, the flavor and texture of these fillets might convert even the staunchest anchovy hater. Pleasantly plump and meaty, these have an intensely savory flavor and a nearly buttery quality, both in the smooth richness of their flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. You’re left with an uncommon, lingering umami and faint taste of the ocean. One of our biggest gripes with store-bought anchovy fillets is the mealy, pasty texture they can often take on, so we were pleased that these have a firm, yet richly succulent character to them. These are also boneless.
BLiS Gourmet Barrel Aged Fish Sauce
This bourbon barrel-aged fish sauce is mellowed by seven months of sitting in oak, so the earthy, meaty funk that one expects from any fermented fish product is beautifully balanced by a complementary sweetness. BLiS's product is also rounded out with soft notes imparted by the seven-month aging process: warming spices, vanilla, and fruit woods, as well as a subtle smoky depth.
Red Boat 40°N Fish Sauce
We love this fish sauce because it is smoother and more complex than other varieties, with a unique nutty quality. To make it, Red Boat ferments wild-caught black anchovies with sea salt for 12 months in wooden barrels, then presses out and bottles the resulting liquid—that's it. All of its flavor comes from the natural aging process, not added sugar like with most commercial fish sauces. Its name is a reference to degrees N: the scale used to measure the amount of nitrogen in fish sauce, which correlates to protein content and thereby flavor. Forty degrees is up to three times the amount of protein of other brands because the company doesn't dilute its product with water, another indicator of Red Boat's superior quality. Though the initial aroma is intense and pungent, the flavor of this fish sauce isn't fishy, but rather a bold and complex hit of umami. Use this fish sauce as a savory complement to aromatic Southeast Asian curry flavors, such as in our Lemon Grass-Coconut Tofu or Singaporean Shrimp and Chicken Noodle Soup (Laksa). It's also a key flavoring for our Thai Fried Rice and adds savory notes to sweet shrimp in our Thai Grapefruit Salad with Shrimp (Som Tom O) and Grilled Skewered Cilantro-Lime Shrimp. You can also make dipping sauces, such as the dressing of our Grilled Cilantro-Lime Skirt Steak inspired by our travels in Cambodia. Or try our Southeast Asian Chicken Salad with Cashews and Coconut or Vietnamese-inspired Caramel-Braised Chicken with Ginger and Lime to add a rich, savory element to chicken.
Red Boat Fermented Fish Sauce (Mắm Nêm)
For fish sauce aficionados who are looking for the next level of umami, Red Boat's Mắm Nêm will bring bold flavor in the smallest quantities. Made only from wild-caught black anchovies and sea salt, it is fish sauce aged for 12 months that hasn't undergone any pressing or filtration, resulting in an even more pungent and concentrated product. All of the flavor comes from the natural aging process, not added sugar as is the case with most commercial fish sauces We like how it contributes the same saltiness as anchovies but with a more savory, complex flavor. It's similar to garum, the Italian fish sauce that originated from the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Haku Iwashi Whiskey Barrel Aged Fish Sauce
Iwashi Whiskey Barrel-Aged Fish Sauce is aged for two years before it spends an additional year in a Japanese oak whisky barrel. The fish sauce is made from just three ingredients: sardines from the Sea of Japan, salt and sugar. It is intensely briny but not fishy, and so much better than what you can find in your local supermarket. Our tasters loved the salty, balanced flavor.
Red Boat Kosher Fish Sauce
Red Boat's product is the world's first and only kosher-certified fish sauce, with a clean, crisp minerality and robust umami flavor reminiscent of Parmesan. Under the supervision of Rabbi Menachem Hartman, wild-caught black anchovies are hand-sorted for their quality and fermented with sea salt in barrels that have been checked to make sure they are kosher-grade. After 12 months, the resulting liquid is pressed out and bottled—that's it. All of the flavor in this fish sauce comes from the natural aging process, not added sugar as is the case with most commercial fish sauces. Though its initial aroma is intense and pungent, the flavor isn't fishy but rather a bold, complex and savory. Use this fish sauce as a savory complement to aromatic Southeast Asian curry flavors, such as in our Lemon Grass-Coconut Tofu or Singaporean Shrimp and Chicken Noodle Soup (Laksa). It's also a key flavoring for our Thai Fried Rice and adds savory notes to sweet shrimp in our Thai Grapefruit Salad with Shrimp (Som Tom O) and Grilled Skewered Cilantro-Lime Shrimp. You can also make dipping sauces, such as the dressing of our Grilled Cilantro-Lime Skirt Steak inspired by our travels in Cambodia. Or try our Southeast Asian Chicken Salad with Cashews and Coconut or Vietnamese-inspired Caramel-Braised Chicken with Ginger and Lime to add a rich, savory element to chicken.
IASA Anchovy Paste Tube
Many store-bought anchovy pastes feel musty and too fishy, but IASA’s version is made with only three simple ingredients—anchovies, olive oil and salt—and truly honors the delightful savoriness of the popular Italian ingredient with its fresh flavor. After being caught off of the Amalfi Coast, the fish are salt-cured in drums for one year to allow its briny, umami flavor to develop. One squeeze of the tube yields a clean anchovy flavor that’s perfectly balanced with salt, ideal for adding a dab savory depth to dishes without fussing with a whole tin of anchovy fillets.