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An Anchovy Phase

January 5, 2011 matkonation No Comments

By: Danya Weiner

Recently I’ve been in an anchovy phase. Every so often I get into a different phase of some ingredient that I just want to use in everything I cook. I had a preserved lemon phase- where I put preserved lemons in every meatball, sandwich, and pasta I prepared. I had a harissa phase, a parmesan phase, a lemon zest phase, and even a sage phase. Now I’m all about anchovies.

Unfortunate for me, my husband hates anchovies. His hate for anchovies developed long before I could introduce him to the real quality-type of anchovies, and now he’s completely uninterested in tasting them. At home I can’t even try to cook with anchovies; the second I put them into pasta sauce, he knows they are there. So the blog was a perfect opportunity for me to create recipes with anchovies and enjoy them with Deanna (who is also a huge fan).

My anchovy phase began while I was doing photography for a company called “Ristretto”, which imports (to Israel) high quality ingredients from Italy and Spain. I was introduced to the company while I was working on a pasta cookbook for “Al Hashulchan” and then we began to work together professionally. From the time I was introduced to their products, I immediately realized that even when it comes to canned goods- there are decent products and there are excellent products. They import chopped canned tomatoes from Italy, Roman artichokes, durum and pizza flour, De Cecco pasta, marinated shallots, sardines and so much more. These products are the little things that when you add them to your kitchen cupboard, they will automatically make your dishes that much better.

The anchovies that Ristretto imports come from Spain, and are the “Ortiz” brand, known as the Rolls Royce of anchovies around the world. Until you have tasted the gems locked up in this small can, you will not understand the difference (they also come in a jar, but the canned ones are much better).

Recently, when I was in Barcelona, I realized that quality anchovies are eaten in the simplest way- on a good piece of bread with tomato. In almost every restaurant in Spain, I found that they let the quality of an ingredient shine. I tried to apply that same concept with these anchovy recipes-Enjoy!

Pan con Tomate topped with Anchovies

The most simple, but so flavorful!

Ingredients for 2-4 servings:

1 fresh baguette

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, halved

1 ripe vine tomato, halved

5-7 Ortiz anchovies

Preparation:

1.       Slice the baguette in half lengthwise and toast on a hot grill pan.

2.       Immediately rub the toasted baguette with the garlic and tomato.

3.       Top with olive oil and anchovies and serve.

Deanna and I literally devoured this within seconds after we shot it for the blog. Words cannot explain how good….

Anchovy Focaccia- Two Ways

Ingredients for 4 focaccias:

1 pound bread flour

½ ounce fresh yeast

¼ cup olive oil

1½ cups warm water

1 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

1.       Place the flour and yeast in a mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Add the olive oil, water and salt. Mix for 5 minutes until soft dough is formed. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap.

2.       Allow dough to rise for about 2 hours, until doubled in size.

3.       Remove the dough from the bowl, and working on lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 1-2 minutes. Evenly divide the dough into four parts, cover with a damp cloth, and allow to rise for another 15 minutes.

4.       Use your hands or a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a large rectangle and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Pissaldiers- Onion and Anchovy Focaccia

Ingredients for 2 focaccias:

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 large onions, thinly sliced

1 bay leaf

8 canned anchovy filets

1 sprig of thyme, leaves removed

1 cup black olives (optional)

Preparation:

1.       Preheat oven to 375ºF.

2.       Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onions and bay leaf. Cook on medium heat for about 10-12 minutes, until soft and golden. Remove bay leaf and discard.

3.       Prepare the focaccia: Place the cooked onions on the prepared focaccia dough, leaving space around the edges. Place anchovies evenly around the focaccia, and sprinkle on thyme leaves. Add olives if using them.

4.       Bake for 15 minutes (preferably using a baking stone).

Anchovy and Potato Focaccia

Ingredients for 2 focaccias:

7 small potatoes, washed thoroughly and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 canned anchovy filets

1 branch rosemary, leaves removed

Salt and fresh ground pepper

Preparation:

1.       Preheat oven to 375ºF.

2.       Place the potatoes and olive oil in a bowl, and use your hands to mix.

3.       Place the potatoes in rows, slightly overlapping one another, on the prepared focaccia dough, leaving space around the edges. Place anchovies evenly around the focaccia, and sprinkle on rosemary leaves. Sprinkle on salt and pepper (be careful not to use too much salt- the anchovies are salty).

4.       Bake for 20 minutes (preferably using a baking stone).

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