Posts Tagged ‘anchovies’

Our neighbor Richard, at the market this morning, enthused about the sound of swifts round the barn and the big blue sky.

On the drive home a hare peeked out to sniff the air–checking on Spring and whether it was safe to cross the road.

The bees are buzzing and beginning to busy themselves around the Judas tree.

The donkey up at the farm just eee-awed.

The walnut trees are leafing out at last.

Something is happening here (and you don’t know what  it is–do you Mr Jones!*)–and it’s about time!

A good day–perhaps–to tempt fate with an early summer lunch dish–roast red pepper halves.

I see they featured just over a year ago with chèvre(goat’s cheese); todays’ will be with the thinnest slivers (easier to do than say fast!) of garlic and anchovies, melting into the tomato juices.

for 2

2/3 red peppers–carefully halved so they sit level on the baking tray

6 tinned (canned) tomatoes–halved

2 garlic cloves–sliced as thin as can be

4 anchovy fillets

olive oil

salt and pepper

a few thyme stems

set oven to 200C/400F

  • Cover a baking tray with foil–(saves time scraping after the tray has been in a hot oven).
  • Brush with olive oil to avoid the peppers sticking.
  • Place the peppers side by side on the tray.
  • Fill each half with tomato pieces, three or four slithers of garlic and an anchovy fillet on each.
  • Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over each half.
  • Bake in the hot oven for 3/4 hour–checking after half an hour–but they need to be thoroughly tender to be delicious.
And a simple green salad to serve.

from Ballad of a Thin Man by Bob Dylan-lyrics

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Meredith and I have eaten this a thousand times, usually on a Sunday evening–our once-a-week pasta night.

It is from the matchless Marcella Hazan and is probably my favourite pasta dish of all time–comfort food par excellence!

What makes it so delicious is the anchovies–controversial little fish–not to everyone’s taste.

Here they deepen the taste without dominating.

The ones preserved in salt are best–they dissolve more readily than those in preserved in oil–but it’s a business preparing them for cooking.

Since I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes we have eaten wholewheat pasta and now we prefer it–it’s on the shelves of most supermarkets these days.

How al dente it’s cooked is a matter of taste.

In Italy you’d think it was an arrestable offence to overcook pasta–they cook it very al dente and it makes for agreeably slower eating.

for 4

2 medium cloves garlic–chopped

6 tablespoons olive oil

anchovy fillets–chopped fine and pounded into a paste in a mortar with a pestle if you have one

2 good tablespoons parsley–chopped

400 gm tin of tomatoes–chopped with their juice

salt & pepper 

400 gms wholewheat spaghettini

  • Lightly sauté the garlic in small saucepan until it colours.
  • Take the pan off the heat and add the anchovies and parsley– stirring well to dissolve them into the oil
  • Add the tomatoes, the salt and pepper.
  • Cook at a steady simmer for about twenty five minutes, stirring regularly.
  • When ready the sauce will have an unctious consistency and a little pool of oil on top.
  • Cook the spaghettini in plenty of well salted boiling water.
  • Test for your preferred “doneness”.
  • Drain, put in a heated bowl and add the sauce.
  • Mix well and serve.

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This is in Delicious Dishes for Diabetics–to be published in TWO DAYS TIME!!–4th August

Based on Mireille Johnston’s recipe – she got the mix just right – this is a traditional savoury spread.

The word tapenade originates from the Provençal for ‘caper’.

It’s a great standby to have in the fridge and is simplicity itself to make.

Serve it as a summer lunch on toast brushed with olive oil and a slice of the ripest tomato on top, or on grilled slices of

courgettes or aubergines, or on savoury biscuits or small pieces of toast as an appetizer, or whatever!

It is a favourite at St. Martin–and would even persuade Cal McRae to come to lunch!

Serves 4 or more

200 g/7 oz black olives–the oily fleshy Greek ones are best, carefully stoned; it’s important to use the plumpest tastiest olives

6 anchovy fillets – chopped

2 tbsp capers

2 cloves garlic – crushed

1 tsp fresh thyme

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

juice of a lemon

black pepper

120 ml/4 fl oz/½ cup olive oil

  • Put all the ingredients, except the oil, in a processor.
  • Using the surge button, gradually pour in the oil, bringing it to a nice nobbly sludge, i.e. not too smooth.
  • Taste for balance; you may need a little more lemon juice.
  • Pour into a bowl or plastic box, and dribble a little more olive oil over to form a preserving film.
  • Store in the fridge.

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“Percy Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers;
A peck of pickled peppers Percy Piper picked;
If Percy Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Percy Piper picked?” 

(It’s Peter in the original tongue twister, and it’s just as difficult with Percy!)

The “Percy” in the title is a friend of a friend.

These peppers have a delicious savoury taste, a lovely look, and help to cheer up a dull unseasonal day…

The secret is to take care slicing them thin and then sautéeing them slow and long.

We had them yesterday for lunch with a poached egg on top and a fennel salad.

for 4

4 red peppers— sliced finely–lengthwise

10 anchovy fillets–pulped with a pinch of salt

1 tablespoon of  capers–roughly chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

generous twists of  black pepper

  • Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and soften the peppers gently over a low heat.
  • It’s worth taking the time to do this–at least an hour.
  • Stir in the anchovies–without breaking up the peppers–until they melt.
  • Heat the oven to 180˚
  • Stir the capers into the peppers and season with black pepper.
  • Fold them into a pleasing ovenproof dish and heat them through for about 10 minutes
  • Serve them warm with more olive oil drizzled over (and the egg on top if you like.)

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