"Glutamates …[are] savory compounds; your taste receptors will pick that up and say wow, that’s nice and savory. But anchovies, in particular, they contain something else. It’s another compound called a nucleotide — and a nucleotide plus a glutamate basically is a savory explosion. It really amps up the flavor of the glutamates 20, 30, even perhaps 40 times. So if you’re tasting beef on its own, or soy sauce, or any of those glutamate-rich ingredients, your tongue will say wow that’s very beefy. You add something with nucleotides in it, say anchovies, and you’ll say this is the best beef stew ever. It tastes so much more meaty than meat."
Photo credit: Stefania Pomponi Butler