The Dish: Anchovy Peanut Brittle
Where to Get It: Maketto, 1351 H St. NE; (202) 838-9972; maketto1351.com
What It Is: Classic peanut brittle made of caramelized sugar, baking soda, and roasted peanuts with an Asian twist. Maketto Chef de Cuisine James Wozniuk folds in bait-size anchovies, fish sauce, and Thai bird’s eye chilies. He scores the tiny fish from Good Fortune Supermarket, one of the newest additions to Eden Center in Falls Church. “I’ll go out there and basically buy $100 worth of these dried anchovies. I clear out the whole shelf,” Wozniuk says.
What It Tastes Like: Pull people off the street for a blind taste test of Maketto’s anchovy brittle and they probably wouldn’t report something fishy. Only when you spot the flashes of silver from the sea will your brain register the unmistakable umami flavor that comes from both the anchovies and fish sauce. The gentle heat from the chilies will keep you coming back until the last chunks of brittle are gone, but note that this thick, sticky snack is like CrossFit for your chompers.
The Story: Wozniuk came up with the idea while flipping through a Chinese cookbook. “I found a snack with fried peanuts and anchovies with some chilies, so I was like, ‘Let’s turn it into brittle,’” he says. Indeed, there are many iterations of the bar snack Wozniuk describes. The brittle is available on Maketto’s Sunday dim sum brunch menu, which typically attracts the restaurant’s most adventurous diners.