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Anchovy, Little Gem, and Tomato Salad

Anchovy, Little Gem, and Tomato Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe tomatoes on the vine (about 1 1/3 pounds), stemmed, halved lengthwise
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Dijon Vinaigrette
  • 12 whole marinated white anchovy fillets (boquerones), drained
  • 1 head Little Gem lettuce (about 4 ounces), leaves separated
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh curly parsley

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 400°. Place tomatoes in an 8x8x2" glass baking dish. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with oil. Roast tomatoes until softened, about 30 minutes. Let cool. Transfer tomatoes to a large bowl, leaving juices behind. Pour vinaigrette into baking dish and whisk into the tomato juices to blend.

  • Add anchovies and lettuce to bowl with tomatoes. Drizzle vinaigrette over. Toss salad to coat (it's best if you use your hands). Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle parsley over and serve.

Recipe by Fergus Henderon,

Nutritional Content

One serving contains: Calories (kcal) 173.9 %Calories from Fat 74.1 Fat (g) 14.3 Saturated Fat (g) 2.1 Cholesterol (mg) 10.2 Carbohydrates (g) 6.2 Dietary Fiber (g) 1.7 Total Sugars (g) 3.4 Net Carbs (g) 4.5 Protein (g) 4.9 Sodium (mg) 467.1Reviews Section

In advance you’ll need to put the beans in a saucepan with plenty of cold water to cover, then bring to the boil, boil for 2-3 minutes and remove them from the heat.

Leave them for about an hour to soak, then boil them again until just soft, probably another hour. There’s no need to soak the lentils: just pick over them, wash them and boil them in plenty of water again until just soft (about 25 minutes).

Meanwhile make up the dressing by mixing everything together in a bowl and adding the oil from the tin of anchovies as well. (Chop the anchovies and keep them on one side.) As soon as the beans and lentils are cooked, drain them and while they’re still warm pour on the dressing, toss them around in it and leave them to cool. Taste and season the mixture well with salt and pepper.

To serve, place some of the bean-and-lentil mixture on to crisp lettuce leaves divided among 4 plates. Garnish with chopped hard-boiled eggs, chopped anchovies and olives.


Begin by lining a 10 inch (25cm) flan tin with the pastry, prick the base all over with a fork and pre-cook it on a baking sheet for 15 minutes.

Then remove it from the oven and increase the heat to gas mark 5, 375F, 190C. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium saucepan and cook the finely chopped onion and crushed garlic over a gentle heat until softened but not coloured. Then stir in the chopped tomatoes and basil and cook, uncovered, over a fairly high heat until the mixture is reduced to a thick consistency and most of the excess liquid has evaporated.

Now drain the anchovies, retaining the oil from the can. Chop up 6 anchovies, then cut the rest in half lengthways and keep them on one side. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the 6 chopped fillets, tomato puree and parsley then beat the eggs together in a basin before stirring them into the tomato mixture. Taste and season with pepper and a little salt if it needs it. Now spread the mixture evenly in the pre-cooked flan case and decorate the top with a latticework of the remaining halved anchovy fillets. Then sprinkle over the pitted, halved black olives. Sprinkle the surface with the oil retained from the anchovy can and finally with the Parmesan cheese.

Now bake for 40 minutes until the filling is puffed and is a light brown.


Instructions

For the croutons, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Cut the crusts off the bread and tear the remainder into small pieces. Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil. Spread them on a baking tray and bake for 5–7 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove and leave to cool. Then season lightly with salt.

Meanwhile, put the eggs into a pan of boiling water and hard-boil for 8 minutes. Drain and cover with cold water. For the dressing, put the garlic, egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, sugar and some seasoning into a small bowl. Mix together briefly with a hand-held electric whisk, then slowly whisk in the oil to make a smooth dressing.

Discard the outside leaves of the lettuce if necessary and tear the rest into small pieces. Wash and dry well, then spread over the base of 6 medium serving plates. Peel the hard-boiled eggs and cut them into quarters. Arrange 4 pieces over each plate of lettuce leaves with the 4 strips of anchovy fillet and a few croutons. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of dressing over each plate and serve straight away.


Not-quite-a-Caesar salad with charred gem lettuce and anchovy toast

Moisten the lettuce with olive oil. Make the dressing and set aside.

Toast the baguette in a moderate oven until golden. Spread the toast with the anchovy paste. Alternatively, toast 4 slices of sandwich loaf just before serving, spread with the anchovy paste and cut into fingers.

Heat 1–2 T olive oil in a wide, heavy pan. Add the lettuce and cook, cut side down, for a few minutes until browned and starting to char. Turn and cook the other side.

Arrange on plates or a platter. Ladle over the dressing, top with Parmesan and add the toast. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.

Cook's note: Instead of adding it to the salad, blitz a whole soft-boiled egg into this dressing to make it extra creamy.

Recipe by: Phillippa Cheifitz View all recipes

Regular TASTE contributor Phillippa is a well-known South African author and food writer, and has won many awards, both for her magazine features and her cookbooks.


Salad Niçoise

The first time I remember having Salade Niçoise was in a café in Paris in 1979. I was alone, having lunch on a lovely August afternoon.

Of course August is the time when nearly all Parisians take holiday. My family and I were lucky enough to exchange houses for the month with a French architect, an acquaintance of a close friend. Our flat was a third floor walk-up (69 steps) so we were careful to plan our comings and goings. Situated on the Left Bank near Invalide, we were able to walk or take the Metro nearly everywhere. After breakfast, we could each go our own way (the kids were 11 and 13), sometimes for the whole day before assembling for dinner to exchange tales of our ventures.

The salad was served on an oval plate with a pile of tuna, surmounted by three anchovy fillets in the center. Green beans, tomato wedges, a quartered hard boiled egg, black olives and sliced potatoes were arranged around the tuna and dressed with a vinaigrette. Yellow potatoes! I had never seen yellow potatoes. I carefully took a bite of each ingredient &mdash starting with a potato slice &mdash and savored each bite. I hoped the experience would never end, but of course the plate was not infinite, and when I reached the last bite, perhaps an olive, I was wholly satisfied.

I did not find Salad Niçoise at home in Boston, but I had carefully recorded the ingredients and arrangement in my journal, so I was able to reproduce it at home. I couldn’t find yellow potatoes until years later.

Salad Niçoise is on restaurant menus now in the US, but often it is not a carefully arranged and portioned plate, but something tossed or piled, served in a bowl or even a hard taco shell. Beware! Ask your server to describe the salad in detail or steer clear.

Fast forward to my wife, Carol’s birthday. Good friends would be visiting San Francisco from Boston and wanted to have lunch with us.

Where shall we take them?
Let’s cook for them.
What shall we cook?
Salad Niçoise, it’s easy to do, makes a fabulous presentation, and is not something you get just anywhere.

I knew my memorized recipe from Paris, but I wanted to know more Marge and Richard &mdash and Carol’s birthday lunch &mdash deserved the best. Luckily Carol was born in August, when tomatoes, beans and the rest are luscious and at their peak. My February birthday lunch will be far different.

I hit my books and the Internet to see what I could see.

The books turned up the usual suspects: Julia, Jacques, James Beard, and the new guy, Anthony Bourdain.

When I Googled Salad Niçoise on the Internet, surprisingly the first two references were British and the third was a food blog. Interesting.

After going over the seven recipes and commentary, I arrived at “My Salade Nicoise,” and it was grand. The recipe below records the ingredients that I actually used and notes the source for future reference.

My Salade Niçoise
Prepared for Marge and Richard on Carol’s birthday 2007

Vinaigrette
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 Tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves*
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad
1 1/2 jars (300g) Italian Callipo Solid Light Tuna in Olive Oil**
1 hard boiled egg* per person, peeled and quartered
1 small Yukon Gold* or Godzilla Fingerling*# potato per person
1 grilled baby artichoke* per person [Those that come in a jar are OK, but,]
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Little Gem* per person, quartered lengthwise
1 Early Girl* tomato per person, peeled, seeded and quartered
1 very thin slice of red onion*, per person
8 ounces harcort vert,* stem ends trimmed
2 small Mediterranean cucumbers*, rough chopped, (about a cup)
1/4 cup Leccino olives** or other black olive
2 Tablespoon capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)
arugula* to spread on serving plates

Whisk lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in medium bowl season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Bring a pot of water to boil. While that’s going on, make the vinaigrette.

Once the water boils, first, dunk the tomatoes for 10 seconds remove from the water, peel and seed, cut in quarters. Reserve in a small bowl.

Second, cook the potatoes in the same water, whole, about 12 minutes. Remove to cool on a cooling rack, peel and slice. Toss with olive oil. Reserve in a small bowl. Meanwhile, prep the beans.

Third, cook the beans about 5 minutes until tender. [“Long French beans are what I expect in this salad. They are better when properly cooked (i.e., softly bending and dark green) rather than fashionably blanched.” London Observer/Guardian]

Remove to cool on a cooling rack. Reserve in a small bowl.

While the potatoes and beans are still a bit warm, toss each separately with the vinaigrette.

Artfully arrange tuna and vegetables on a platter.

Arrange arugula and Little Gems on individual plates.

Notes:
* From the Farmers Market this morning
#”Godzilla Fingerlings” are from Mariquita Farm
** From AG Ferrari delicatessen

Julia Child in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One

Salade Niçoise [Mediterranean Combination Salad]
Tuna, anchovies, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, hard-boiled eggs, and lettuce are the usual elements for this appetizing combination, and you may arrange the salad in any manner you wish. Serve as an hors d’oeuvre or as a main-course summer salad.

Julia Child and Jacques Pepin in Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home
Two Near-Niçoise Salads
Here are two salads using similar ingredients but put together in quite different styles. Both are inspired by the Salade Niçoise, the appetizer platter of canned tuna, tomatoes, tiny black olives and other vegetables that is nearly as popular here in America now as it has always been on the Mediterranean coast.

Julia
The first is a large composed salad &mdash a colorful arrangement of vegetables, hard-boiled egg halves, and various garnishes with canned tuna at the center. There are no rules for composing a salad &mdash other than that it please the eye.

Jacques
Even in Nice, Salade Niçoise is put together in different ways and with different ingredients. Conventionally, it will always have canned tuna, tomatoes, and the small olives that are grown in the region. But in some places you will get green beans, potatoes, sliced onion or anchovy fillets as well. And while it is most typical for the ingredients to be set on the plate in separate bunches, to be eaten like an antipasto, sometimes they are all put in a bowl and tossed.

My salad with fresh tuna is in the modern style, the kind of thing that young chefs like to do today, combining warm and cool ingredients in a salad. Using vinaigrette as the sauté medium is a special touch, which makes the pan juices very flavorful &mdash you definitely want to use these to dress the salad.

James Beard in James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking

Salade Niçoise
This Provencal salad is one of the best of all luncheon dishes. You can vary it to taste, adding other vegetables of your choice. The only constants are the tuna, anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes and tiny black olives. Optional ingredients: Thin sliced red onion, pimiento strips, green bell pepper. [Note: Beard uses lots of anchovies, 20 to 30 fillets for 4 to 6 servings.]Variations
Certain cooked vegetables may also be added to the salad, such as tiny, boiled new potatoes or sliced boiled potatoes, green beans or artichoke hearts.

Anthony Bourdain in his Les Halles Cookbook
His Salade Niçoise is simple and traditional, without commentary.

THE INTERNET
Here are some examples of Salade Niçoise from around the English-speaking world. I linked to the websites where you can get the recipes for yourself. Some of the commentary is included here, as it conveys the attitude of the writer.

The CommentaryThe anchovies
There are two very distinct types of anchovy fillets – those preserved in oil, and the red and meaty ones that are kept in coarse salt. The oil-preserved ones have a less interesting flavour but need nothing more than rinsing and patting dry before use.

The lettuce
Let’s be strict here – Salade Niçoise is no place for a designer lettuce. This is Cos or Little Gem territory. You need crunch. The Gem leaves are small enough to leave whole the rabbit-eared Cos will need a bit of tearing. I sometimes cut the Little Gems into quarters rather than prizing the leaves apart.

The tomatoes
Ideally, use those rough and knobbly French Marmande, if not, really ripe plum tomatoes. They should be the juiciest you can find. Some people skin theirs, some don’t. I do, but much depends on the tomato itself and how thick its skin is. Take care not to ‘cook’ it when you drop it into boiling water to loosen its skin. Quartering the tomatoes rather than slicing them will save the salade from becoming ‘wet’.

The olives
No olives, no Salade Niçoise. I like the oval, matt, purple olives from Provence or, taking the ingredients out of their territory, southern Italy. Most times you get those fat, sticky fruit as black as molten tar. Very often they have been marinated with thyme and garlic. They’ll do. What is all wrong are green olives, stuffed olives and, worst of all, no olives at all.

The beans
Long French beans are what I expect in this salad. They are better when properly cooked (i.e., softly bending and dark green) rather than fashionably blanched.

The dressing
Garlic needs to figure somewhere in this, otherwise it ain’t Niçoise. Red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, a tiny seasoning of salt – you already have olives and anchovies – and some black pepper, and, perhaps, just a dab of mustard are all you need.

The extras
Feelings run high about ‘extras’. Someone, somewhere will argue that at least one of these is essential and I am a heathen to suggest otherwise.

Artichoke hearts – the bottled sort, marinated in olive oil. I regard this as a high point in the proceedings. I suppose it is simply that I associate the mauve and sage-coloured spiky globes with the area. They turn up in the more expensive versions. [I used grilled baby artichokes.]

Boiled eggs. Escoffier didn’t and neither do I, but most of us regard them as de rigueur. The eggs should be only barely set.

Capers. They add bite and piquancy, making this the loud-flavoured salad it should be.

Basil and parsley are both interesting additions, but are by no means essential. Radishes, peppers, white haricots and, I think, new potatoes have taken a wrong turning on the way to Cannes. They should have turned left at Dijon.

Salade Niçoise
Delia Online
Delia has a British Cookery School and online magazine, as well as an online shop.

Nothing has changed much here over the long years I’ve been cooking and writing recipes &mdash this is still one of the best combinations of salad ingredients ever invented. Slick restaurants often attempt to do trendy versions with salmon, char-grilled tuna and the like, but the original reigns supreme. In Provence lettuce was sometimes used, sometimes not, but I now like to abandon the lettuce in favour of a few rocket leaves.

Serves 4-6 as a light lunch

You need to serve the salad fairly promptly, and needless to say it needs lots of warm, crusty baguette with Normandy butter to go with it.

Niçoise Salad
Simply Recipes, a food blog by elise 8.07
Serves 6. Adapted from Cooks Illustrated, America’s Test Kitchen

Salad Niçoise (pronounced nee-suaz) is essentially a French composed salad, much like our American Cobb salad, but with tuna, green beans, and potatoes, instead of chicken, bacon, and avocado. Salad Niçoise hails from Nice, on the Mediterranean Sea, though like so many foods we enjoy here of French origin, has changed a bit to adapt to our tastes. According to the Wikipedia the Niçoise salads are always made with raw vegetables and served with anchovies. Niçoise salads that are served in America are typically served on a bed of lettuce and include cooked green beans and potatoes. According to our Paris insider, the Niçoise salads there are all made with canned tuna. Depending on the establishment here, I’ve had them either with canned or with freshly grilled tuna. Like its American Cobb salad cousin, the Salad Niçoise takes some time to prepare, given all of the ingredients. This is one dish where setting up your mise en place (all ingredients chopped and ready to go) will help the salad come together smoothly.


All the homemade salad dressings you need

I hope by now you have ditched any store bought dressings that are lurking in your fridge. If not read this then please go and do it pronto. Your taste buds, wallet and health will thank you. Below are my five top homemade salad dressings, once you have them in your recipe bank you won’t need much else.

All the recipes below serve 4 people with a little leftover. Maybe you like more dressing on your salad? If so you may not end up with leftovers so I’d probably double, triple of quadruple the dressings below so you have some at hand for subsequent days.

Dressings are all about balance – make sure you have acid, salt, a savory (umami) note and a touch of sweetness. If I’m adding fresh herbs to a salad or dressing, I add them just before serving as the acid in the dressing will make them go very soggy if left for too long.

Once you’ve dressed your salads, give them some crunch with toasted seeds, chickpeas, nuts, croutons or dukkah. Read my salad building blocks post here for more of my tips on how to build deliciously balanced salads without using a recipe.

Don’t just use these dressings on salads

Toss pasta or noodles, cous cous, cooked potatoes, roasted vegetables through dressing. Children are always much more inclined to eat their greens when they have a little oil and acid on them. It is always better to dress things that are warm whilst they are still warm so that the they soak up the dressing.

Keeping them in the fridge

Dressings (any without eggs or dairy) will keep in the fridge for ages. Just keep them in a clean jam jar, label them and use them with gusto.

If you don’t want to make a dressing

Much of the time I don’t even make a dressing. I just scatter my salad with olive oil and either lemon juice or vinegar (sherry, white wine or red wine vinegar), salt and pepper before tossing.

Jam jar dressings

The three dressings below are the easiest. Just put all the ingredients in a clean jam jar, shake, taste and adjust the flavours until they suit you. Then use or label and refrigerate until needed.

1. Vinaigrette aka French dressing(lovely with soft leaves, tomatoes, grated raw carrots, artichoke, roast chicken and greens)

(remember the 3:1 oil:vinegar ratio and you won’t go far wrong)

  • 6 tablespoons of regular olive oil – I like this one
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 minced shallot (see my video of how to mince it)
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water (optional)
  • A pinch each of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and sugar

2. Thai dressing (also fab with noodles, stir fried veg or rice)

  • 2 limes, juiced and zested – or use 1-2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar in a pinch
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce (I like Grama’s brand from Whole Foods). Or use 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1 chopped fresh chili instead
  • 1 tablespoon nam pla (fish sauce – I like Squid brand)
  • Optional – an inch of fresh ginger, grated (with a coarse Microplane), a splash of sesame oil

3. Lemon dressing (lovely with asparagus, fennel, broccoli or kale)

  • 6 tablespoons good olive oil – I like this one
  • juice and zest of a lemon (possibly one and half lemons depending on how juicy they are)
  • a pinch of Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Blended dressings

1. Homemade mayonnaise

This is so easy to make and tastes a million times better than anything you can buy. I use it to mix with eggs or tuna for my children’s sandwiches. Sometimes I stir some chopped gerkins, parsley and lemon zest through it to make a tartar sauce and serve it with fish.

Make a warm Hollandaise style sauce by using warm melted butter in place of the oil.

  • 1 large egg
  • 180ml (¾ cup) organic canola oil [aka rapeseed in the UK] or avocado oil or a mixture of the two
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar (vinegar will mean your mayo lasts for longer in the fridge)
  • a pinch each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. You need to use an immersion blender and a tall, wide necked jar such as a 500ml (one pint) mason jar to make mayo this way
  2. Put your egg into the jar along with the lemon juice or vinegar and the salt and pepper. You could also add a quarter of a clove of garlic, minced to make aioli and/or a teaspoon of Dijon at this stage
  3. Pour all of the oil into the jar on top of the egg, give it a few seconds for the egg to float back down to the bottom of the jar then put your immersion blender right down into the jar so that it is sitting on the very bottom
  4. Without moving the blender at all, blend for 20 seconds. You’ll see your oil and egg start to emulsify, increase in volume, turn a pale creamy color and start to climb up the side of the jar
  5. At this point, start to carefully pull your blender upwards, power still on. Don’t remove it from the jar yet. Blend for a few more seconds and move the blender up and down and tilt it side to side a little to make sure everything is incorporated. That’s it. You just made your own mayo! You can pop the lid on the jar and keep it in the fridge for 3 days, or up to a week if you used vinegar in place of lemon juice.

2. Homemade Caesar

I love this stirred through shredded kale or any hearty greens. It also makes a fab dressing for potato salad.

  • 1 anchovy fillets (drained of oil)
  • half a small garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 egg
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 120ml (half a cup) organic non-gmo canola oil or avocado oil (I like Chosen Foods)
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil – I like this one
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sea salt

Follow exactly the same method as the mayo above. Put everything in at the beginning and blend away.

Equipment

You can now buy the equipment I use in this recipe through my shop. I’ve spent years testing my favourite bits of equipment so rest-assured that whatever I recommend is the best tool for the job and will give you great results without cluttering your kitchen with unused tools. You can also buy my other bits of essential kitchen equipment through this post.

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Salad is a broad term referring to any dish consisting of bite-sized pieces of ingredients mixed together, usually vegetables and greens, but also meat, pasta, and fish. They can be served as starter courses, side dishes, or the main event, when combined with a protein. In places like France, green salads are sometimes served as the final palate-cleansing course before dessert.

It might feel like standard practice now, but gorgeous salads were not always easy to find in the US. For Chef Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse and this-is-how-you-eat-a-peach fame, an early trip to Provence showed her the salad light: she fell in love with mesclun, a Provençal word that describes a mix of salad greens and herbs. Alice brought seeds back from France and planted her entire backyard with lettuces in order to recreate the mesclun salads she couldn’t find at home.

By putting that homespun mesclun salad on Chez Panisse’s menu, and promoting the French tradition of a salad with every meal, Alice helped set the salad revolution in motion.


Meat-Free anchovy recipes

Simple Scotch Woodcock

The name of this dish illustrates how well anchovies stand in for meat – no woodcock are involved, just eggs and anchovy paste. It is a classic Edwardian Savoury – a dish that would have been served before (or instead of) dessert. Today we would be more likely to eat it for breakfast or brunch. Instead of making a spread with butter, anchovies and capers I find Gentleman’s Relish is perfectly adequate. However, I would find it worthwhile to use English Muffins rather than ordinary toast. Spread the split and toasted muffins with Gentleman’s Relish, top them with scrambled eggs and garnish with two crossed anchovies.

Gentleman’s Relish is also handy for making hors d’oeuvres like Palmiers to serve with drinks. Simply spread Gentleman’s Relish on one half of rolled, good quality, bought puff pastry. Fold the un-spread half over and roll again to the original dimensions. Starting from one of the long edges, roll the pastry up tightly to the centre and then repeat on the other side. Rolling the pastry in its original paper makes this easier. Wrap the roll in cling film and chill for an hour.

Cut the pastry roll into slices nearly 1 cm thick. Lay them flat on a lined baking tray.

Cook at 200° C until puffed and golden – about 12 minutes.

Sage and Anchovy Fritters

This recipe comes from Franco Taruschio.

24 large sage leaves (at their best in June)

12 anchovy fillets preserved in oil

Rinse the sage leaves and dry thoroughly. Lay the anchovy fillets on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.

Make a batter with the remaining ingredients and leave to stand for an hour.

Sandwich each anchovy fillet between two sage leaves and secure with a cocktail stick. Dip into the batter and fry until golden brown.

Lettuce and Anchovy

This is so simple it can hardly be called a recipe. It is a Spanish Tapas – just very fresh crisp lettuce, quartered Little Gems hearts are perfect, each quarter enveloping an anchovy.

Pissaladière

This Provençal dish originally had a bread base, like a pizza, and is sometimes claimed to be the for-runner. It now often has a puff pastry base. Personally I much prefer the bread base, hence the recipe below, but I do see that bought puff pastry provides a quick and easy alternative. The topping is also sometimes varied, for example I have seen slices of tomato included. At this point I think we are missing the simplicity of the dish – the topping should consist of plenty of slowly cooked onions, with a lattice formed by anchovies and a black olive punctuating each of the diamonds formed by the anchovy lattice. – “Simples”!

jar anchovy fillets, cut in half lengthwise

10g sea salt (preferably Maldon)

Peel and halve the onions then slice them thinly. Melt the butter in a large oven proof pan. Turn the onion slices in the melted butter until they are all coated. Add the crushed garlic and some fresh thyme leaves. Cover and cook in a low oven (120°C) for a couple of hours until very soft. Remove the pan from the oven and place over a higher heat to drive off any remaining liquid and lightly caramelise. Leave to cool.

To make the bread, stir the yeast into the tepid water, then add the olive oil. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, pour in the liquid and mix to form a dough. Turn out and knead until smooth. Return to the bowl, cover, place in a warm place to double in size – about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Turn out the risen dough and “knock back” by kneading briefly. Roll or stretch to fit an oiled baking tray about 30吔 cm in size. Cover with the cooked onion then form a lattice of anchovy slices (cut lengthwise if thick). Place a black olive in the centre of each diamond formed by the anchovies.

Salade Niçoise

This salad often includes Tuna, but provided you include sufficient good quality anchovies it is quite superfluous. The salad should be arranged rather than tossed, with crossed anchovies as the final garnish. The other ingredients should include: Little Gem lettuce, boiled new potatoes, cooked green beans, just boiled eggs, tomatoes, olives, capers, chopped flat leaf parsley and, of course, anchovy fillets, 5 per person.

The dressing includes raw garlic, finely chopped with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar finished with good olive oil.

Caesar Salad

Caesar salad is apparently named not after the Roman Emperor but the brother of the chef, Alex Cardini, who created it. Since then there have been many variations on the original recipe. The enduring popularity of this salad is no doubt partly due to the strong umami taste of anchovies, Parmesan cheese and Worcester sauce, which, when combined with sour lemon juice makes an exciting, refreshing salad.

3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

6 slices of good white bread

2 eggs, at room temperature

freshly ground black pepper

9 tbsps freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Put 6 tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan with the slices of garlic and heat very gently, on no account allowing the garlic to burn. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

Remove the garlic from the oil and lay the bread in the pan to absorb the oil. Cut the bread into cubes and scatter on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until crisp.

Cut the anchovies into strips, putting 3 fillets into a mortar and the rest in a bowl with the washed and dried lettuce leaves. Grind the 3 anchovy fillet to a paste and blend with the lemon juice and Worcester sauce.

Break the eggs into barely simmering water and poach for 1-2 minutes, until the white is just opaque. Now use a teaspoon to lift the yolks out of the pan (discarding the whites) and add them to the anchovy and lemon mixture. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Season with black pepper (taste, it probably won’t need salt). Pour over the lettuce, add the Parmesan cheese and croutons and roll the leaves gently to coat.

Orecchiette con Cime di Rape o Broccoli

Orecchiette means “little ears”, the little cup shapes are formed by hand in southern Italy, although you can sometimes buy them dried. They are traditionally served with Cime di Rape (turnip tops) in Puglia, although similar recipes using broccoli, Romanesco or cauliflower are found elsewhere in the south, for example in Sicily. The flowering greens are cooked with anchovies, raisins and pine nuts. If you can’t find orecchiette, other small shapes such as farfalle are fine, or I have seen bucatini (a thicker version of spaghetti) used in Sicily. Saffron is a good addition to cauliflower, I also like to add some chopped preserved lemon. Use this recipe as a guide adjusting cooking times depending on the vegetable used.

1 head of broccoli, cut into florets, stem peeled and sliced finely

Saffron and preserved lemon (optional)*

Pangrattato (fried breadcrumbs) to serve

Bring a large pan of water to the boil.

Meanwhile dice the shallot, diced stem and anchovy and cook gently in olive oil.

When the water is boiling add a ladleful to the vegetables together with a pinch of saffron, if using, and the raisins.

Add a couple of tablespoons of salt to the pasta water, then add the pasta. Add the broccoli florets at a point in the cooking time so that they will be cooked at the same time as the pasta.

When the water has evaporated from the vegetables, add the pine nuts and brown lightly.

Drain the pasta, retained a little of the cooking water, toss with the vegetables and sufficient water to amalgamate.

Top with pangrattato to serve.

*Note: Not authentic, but I like the addition of preserved lemon, added with the anchovies.


Method

Mise en Place

Prepare the vegetables: boil the new potatoes in salted water until just tender. Cook the green beans in fast-boiling salted water. Taste after 3 minutes. If not done, check again after another minute. The current fashion for near raw beans is, in my view, wrong. They should not be woody, but al dente. When done to your liking, drain the beans and plunge them into cold water • Trim the lettuce, discarding the outer leaves. Wash and spin or pat dry • Slice the tomatoes in wedges.

Boil the eggs for 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the eggs to sit in the hot water for a further 2 minutes, then refresh in cold water for 3 minutes. Drain, shell and cut the eggs into quarters.

Make the anchovy dressing: put all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Process to a smooth paste and then add sunflower oil and olive oil in a thin stream through the feeder tube, until the dressing is the consistency of double cream. Season with black pepper.

Put all the salad ingredients except the eggs and tomatoes into a large bowl. The amount of lettuce you use should be about half the volume of the whole salad. Pour over 4 tablespoons of the anchovy dressing and toss thoroughly to coat • If using fresh tuna, preheat a hot grill or griddle.

Cooking

If you have been able to get hold of fresh tuna, brush the steaks with olive oil and sear under a preheated hot grill or on a griddle pan for 60 seconds on each side. The tuna should be pink in the middle.

Serving

Heap equal amounts of the salad on 4 plates. Arrange the tomato slices and egg quarters around the outside. Put a tuna steak on top of each serving or flake over the canned tuna. Drizzle olive oil over the top and serve with the best bread you can buy.

This is one of those dishes where a good, dry rosé makes the perfect accompaniment. The very best rosé is Château de Sours which is made by an Englishman,

, who turned to viticulture very successfully after selling Majestic Wines. Strangely, this wine is not from Provence, but from Bordeaux and is technically called a clairet.


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