What is it about anchovies that polarises people? They’re like olives, or paleo diets, or getting drunk and kissing your cousin [blegh]. Unless you’re going to buy the ortiz brand every time (and at 20 bucks a tin who the hell does that), you may as well stop eating brown anchovies. They’re fucking useless, except for turning your pizza hut super supreme into a friday night party with your cat.
If, however, you a) like anchovies and want to keep eating them, or b) don’t like anchovies, get your hands on some white anchovies, or boquerones. They’re pickled, not salt-cured, tart and less salty, and filleted so they don’t stab you on the roof of the mouth. As with most things, try and buy the best you can – quality still varies greatly between brands.
You can eat them straight or as a substitute for brown anchovies (pizza, toast, pasta). For a super simple way to put them together as a dish, try what we’ve done here. It’s also good for those times when you’ve got people coming over and you feel like throwing an extra sharing plate on the table so you look like you’ve made heaps of effort.
(sharing plate for 4)
200g white anchovies (or allow four to five fillets per person)
handful of rocket, cress
or baby beet leaves
1 tsp green peppercorns
parmesan, for shaving
half a lemon for squeezing
olive oil, for drizzling
This really is an assembly job. Scatter the anchovies on a plate. We went with a clock pattern but you could also place them randomly – just make sure they’re not too symmetrical. Layer the rocket (or whatever green you’re using) and add the green peppercorns. Shave over some parmesan and a bit of lemon zest. Finish with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve with bread. Seriously, that’s it.