As ubiquitous as soy sauce in Japan and fish sauce in South East Asia, kitchens across the Roman Empire were once filled with the umami-rich sent of garum, a flavourful liquid made of anchovies.
For centuries, this unique and incredible seasoning was given to hosts as a gift, much as we now give a bottle of wine, who would use it to add salt and a meaty flavour to their dishes. It would be combined with oil and vinegar to make sauces and dressings, and a few drops even added to water for drinking.
Today, garum- also known as colatura- is being rediscovered in professional kitchens around the world as a uniquely powerful ingredient that adds complexity, salt and that elusive ‘meatiness’ known as ‘umami’ to vegetables, grilled meat and seafood.
The Essential Ingredient Garum is produced using traditional methods, the anchovies salted and fermented in barrels, then drained, aged and filtered. The resulting amber-coloured liquid is aromatic, briny (without tasting ‘fishy’) and ready to cook with.
Mix a teaspoon of garum with a few tablespoons of olive oil and some crushed garlic, for an instant delicious sauce for pasta, potatoes, or sautéed greens like broccoli, broccolini, asparagus and spinach. Sprinkle a few drops on roasted vegetables, fresh tomatoes, avocado, roast meat, fish and scallops. Garum is perfect for adding umami to Caesar salad, and any other dish that could use a quick kick, like soups, stews and salsa verde.