What to Eat in France: Anchoyade Languedocienne or Anchovies from the Ancient Province of Languedoc
Quand se garnis uno ensalado,
Fau qu’aquéu que met la sau fugue un sage;
Aquéu que met lou vinaigre, un avare;
Aquéu que met l’òli, un proudigue.–Popular minstrel rhyme
“When dressing a salad, the person who adds the salt has to be careful; the person who adds the vinegar wise, and the person who adds the oil generous,” said the wandering minstrels in Langue d’Oc.
Anchoyade is the langue d’oc spelling. In French (and in the Provençal dialect), it is written anchoïade. In English, anchoiade.
The former province of Languedoc bordered Provence, where anchoïde is king, but in Languedoc, anchovies are mashed into a paste. Anchoïade is to Provence what fondue is to the Savoy. When the anchovy mixture is pounded in a mortar, as it is in Provence, it is actually anchovy paste. Anchoyade Languedocienne differs in that the anchovies are fried and served whole.
Technically, anchoïade is considered a sauce in France, although it is eaten as we would eat dip, called bagna cauda, or banha cauda in Provençal, with fresh raw vegetables into which it is dipped, or as a spread on toast. It is also used to make Fougasse aux Anchois and on salads.
In the region, anchoïade is most often accompanied by a dry white Cassis wine.
This is a traditional recipe and is perfect for topping a salad. Today, it is almost always ground into a paste like in Provence before serving as a dip. If you wish to do this, see the instructions following the traditional recipe.