Anchovies on toast
Not so much a recipe as a very brief assembly
A loaf of country or sourdough bread
Salted anchovy fillets
Cayenne pepper or chilli flakes
Cut a thick slice of country or sourdough bread with a sharp, serrated knife. Grill or toast it until it’s golden on both sides, but remains soft within. Once it’s cooled slightly, spread generously with the finest unsalted butter (a pale and creamy Italian butter is superb, if you can find some). Lay the fillets of salted anchovy along the length of the grilled/toasted bread with only a small space between each.
Spritz with a little lemon juice and sprinkle over them a touch of cayenne pepper or, more moderately, chilli flakes. Using a sharp, sturdy knife, firmly cut between the fillets to form individual fishy soldiers.
Salad of smoked anchovy with beetroot, chopped egg and spring onions
Salted and smoked anchovy
fillets are truly delicious, but they aren’t commonly available. One of the reasons for this is that although the product looks secure in its tin, it can occasionally go off. However, don’t let this unnerve you. Simply make sure that your tins of smoked anchovies remain in the fridge until they’re ready for use. The most reliable source of them is the highly respected Spanish company Brindisa (www.brindisa.com).
Anchoa ahumada is what you need here. They’re sold in 100g tins under the brand name of Nardin. Once tasted, never forgotten. You’ve been warned-these are highly addictive little fish. Make sure you allow the tin of anchovies to come up to room temperature before using, so that the oil can melt.
The composition of this salad is very much up to the maker. I’ve kept it quite simple here, but you may wish to include two or three sliced radishes or a bit of cucumber, for example. Freshly cut mustard cress might seem a frivolous addition, but I’ve always loved its peppery flavour. Anyway, feel free to put your own spin on it, but beware of trouncing the anchovy with an excess of ingredients.
1 round lettuce (or 2 little gems, if you must), outside leaves removed and discarded
1 large, cooked beetroot, skin removed, sliced and then cut into thick strips (batons)
2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
5-6 smoked anchovies, sliced lengthways in two A sprinkle of red-wine vinegar
1-2tbsp olive oil, plus a little oil from the anchovy tin
Scant salt and freshly ground pepper
Separate the lettuce leaves and arrange on two pretty plates. Scatter the beetroot and spring onion over the lettuce. Coarsely grate the egg over the salad and drape with the anchovy fillets. Sprinkle the vinegar over and lightly lubricate with the oils. Judiciously season and serve forthwith.
Simon Hopkinson is the founding chef and co-proprietor of Bibendum restaurant, London
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