JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Monday, January 14, 2008

Anchovy, Garlic and Caper Sauce

I said I'd cook one last recipe from each book I give away ... today's prize book is Jane Grigson's Fish Book. I'm only giving it away because I've got two copies. I use this book all the time, not just to cook from, but also to read.

This 18th-century recipe for Anchovy, Garlic and Caper Sauce is one I haven't tried before; it's perfect for today, when Lucius may or may not be coming home for lunch, and when there's lots of oddments in the fridge that need eating up. I'm going to serve it with vegetables, rather in the manner of a cold bagna cauda (the recipe for which is also given).

I halved the quantities, left out the salt (lots in the capers), and made it with a pestle because I wanted a lumpy texture. It's a sort of winter, herb-less version of salsa verde, which we eat a lot in the summer. A good discovery. Thank heavens I've got two copies of Jane Grigson's Fish Book!

Anchovy, garlic and caper sauce

Serves 6

An 18th-century sauce that goes beautifully with hard-boiled eggs - halve them across, spread the sauce on a dish and put the eggs, cut side down, in neat rows on top. Allow 6-9 eggs. Serve it with cooked haricot beans, salt cod and grilled white fish, or tuna.

10-12 large garlic cloves, in their skins
8-10 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons small capers
dash of wine vinegar
salt, pepper
about 12 tablespoons olive oil

Simmer the garlic in water to cover for 7 minutes. Cool under the tap, remove their skins and put them into a blender (better than a processor for this kind of sauce) with the anchovies, capers, vinegar and a little seasoning. Whizz to a puree, then slowly add the oil to make a sauce of mayonnaise consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings.

This is a strong sauce - you could use half sunflower or safflower oil and half olive oil to make it blander.

PS Fabulously easy, even in a mortar. Utterly delicious, especially with cold potatoes. Who needs hard-boiled eggs?


Dianne said...

This looks and sounds gorgeous! Very Mediterranean, so presumably would go well with dishes from that region!


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Joanna that looks really terrific! Gorn loves capers, have to think on the Anchovy.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

anchovies, garlic, and capers are one of my favourite combinations. I must make it more often!

Cottage Smallholder said...

That sounds wonderful Joanna, thanks for sharing. It would be great with butter beans, I reckon.

Anonymous said...

This was a family favorite, my Aunt from Southern Italy passed this on to my mother. We also add oil cured Kalamata olives with lots of Olive Oil (as an ingredient). We always served over pasta.

mmmm, Im making some tommarrow!

Joanna said...

Yes, Adrian, definitely a favourite, and I like the sound of adding good olives - next time :)