Anchovies & Sardines

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Pissaladiere with green olive tapenade

serves 8 starters
difficulty easy
prep time 15mins (approx.)
total time 1hr (approx.)
main ingredient(s) Anchovies & Sardines, green olives, capers
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Sometimes, I swap the anchovies for fresh, filleted sardines.

If you can’t find Careme pastry, two sheets of frozen puff pastry are a good substitute

Ingredients

375 grams Careme puff pastry
5 brown onions, finely sliced
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper
20 anchovy fillets
1 lemon, juiced
Green olive paste
125 grams pitted green olives, preferably Queen Green olives
10 grams capers
2 anchovies
1 clove garlic
1 chilli
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 handful parsley

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Roll the puff pastry into one large rectangle, about 25 cm x 35 cm, and lay it on baking paper on a baking tray. (If using pastry sheets, lay on paper on two trays.) Using a sharp knife, create a 3 cm border around the entire sheet, scoring small lines that run the same direction as the edges. This border will rise when the tart is baked.

Place the onion slices in a pan with oil and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Slowly cook them over a gentle heat, stirring regularly over about 30 minutes. The onions will become soft and jammy as they confit and caramelise.

To make the olive paste, chop all ingredients and place in a food processor, then puree until fine.

Generously spoon the caramelised onions over the pastry and arrange the anchovy fillets over the top.

Season and bake for 9 or 10 minutes until golden.

Remove from the oven and squeeze over the lemon juice. Transfer to a plate and dollop the tart with green olive paste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Sardines ‘a la plancha’ with sherry, chermoula & orange

serves 4 starters
difficulty easy
prep time 10mins (approx.)
total time 25mins + 20mins if making your chermoula (approx.)
main ingredient(s) Anchovies & Sardines, chermoula, paprika, orange, sherry
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This dish has a touch of Spanish inspiration but hops across the Mediterranean for the chermoula, which adds spice and herby freshness to the sardines. This method is also great if, like me, you have people in your house who aren’t crazy about the aroma of cooking sardines (even if I am).

Ingredients

1 orange, sliced in rounds
good splash of sherry or dry white wine
10 fresh sardines, gutted, heads on
salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
2 heaped tablespoons chermoula
2 pinches of paprika
extra virgin olive oil

Method

Lay out two lengths of aluminium foil and top with lengths of baking paper. Divide the orange slices between the two, splash over the sherry and lay the sardines on top, season with salt and pepper, dollop the chermoula over the sardines and sprinkle with paprika. Bring the edges of the foil together, rolling and crimping together to form two parcels.

Heat a large frying pan over high heat until very hot and put the parcels in (use two pans if they don’t fit in flat) – you could also do this on the flat grill of a barbecue. Cook for 6-10 minutes – the cooking time will vary a little depending on the size of your sardines. It will take a few minutes for the parcel to heat up, but once it has, the sardines will cook very quickly.

Once cooked, open the parcels, drizzle over a little oil and serve in the foil.

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Holstein Schnitzel

serves 6 mains
difficulty moderate
prep time 25mins (approx.)
total time 1hr (approx.)
main ingredient(s) veal, eggs, Anchovies & Sardines, capers, parsley, capsicum
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It’s a 19th century variation on the classic Wiener schnitzel, created for Herr Holstein (Baron Holstein actually), who apparently liked eggs and anchovies on his schnitzel. A recent stroll down memory lane made for both a delicious lunch and proof of the Baron’s good taste.

Ingredients

6 pieces (approx. 185 grams each) veal backstrap or loin, lightly beaten out
200 ml olive oil for frying
6 eggs
12 white anchovies
3 teaspoons capers
Crumb
4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt flakes
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, chiffonade
1 lemon, zest only
4 cloves garlic, finely grated
½ cup plain flour
3 eggs, whisked
Capsicum salad
3 red capsicums
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
1 handful parsley leaves, torn
salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper

Method

Roast the capsicums for 30 minutes in a hot oven, slip off the skins, remove the seeds and cut the flesh into a 2 cm dice.

For the crumb, mix all the ingredients together (except the flour and eggs) in a bowl until well combined. Tip the flour onto a plate and flour the veal. Dip the veal in the whisked eggs, drain a little then press into the crumb mix until fully coated. Let the crumbed schnitzels sit at room temperature for around 10 minutes.

Toss the diced capsicum in a splash of virgin oil, vinegar and the parsley, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To cook the schnitzels, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry the schnitzels (in batches) for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden, drain on kitchen paper. While the schnitzels cook, fry the eggs in a little olive oil.

Serve the schnitzels with some capsicum salad, a fried egg, anchovies and a scattering of capers.

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Seared scotch fillet with ricotta, white anchovies & a parsley, radish & shallot salad

serves 2 people
difficulty easy
prep time 15mins (approx.)
total time 25mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) steak, Anchovies & Sardines, radish, parsley, Ricotta
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Make sure to get your griddle pan smoking hot to get some good colour on the steaks or alternately use the barbeque.

Ingredients

2 x 200 gram scotch fillet at room temperature
salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
1 shallot, sliced finely
2 pinches of cumin powder
2 pinches of caster or brown sugar
1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
¼ bunch of continental parsley, picked
2 sprigs mint, picked
4 radishes, finely sliced
1 green chilli, sliced
50 ml of peppery virgin olive oil
6 white anchovies
100 grams fresh ricotta

Method

Pre-heat a griddle plate to smoking hot. Season the steak with salt and pepper and rub with a little oil.

In a bowl add the shallot, sugar, cumin and a pinch of salt, mix with your fingers. Allow the shallot to soften for 2 minutes then add the vinegar, parsley, mint, radish, chilli and peppery oil and toss through.

Sear the steak for 2½ to 3 minutes on each side to cook medium-rare to medium. Rest for a few minutes. To plate, lay the anchovies over each steak, dollop with ricotta and serve the parsley salad on the side. Spoon over any of the remaining dressing from the bottom of the bowl.

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Fennel & celeriac salad with crispy pancetta, parmesan & hot anchovy dressing

serves 4 starters
difficulty easy
prep time 10mins (approx.)
total time 40mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) Celery & Celeriac, Fennel, Pancetta, eggs, bread, Anchovies & Sardines
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In place of the Caesar’s bacon, there is crispy pancetta, and instead of cos lettuce, there’s fennel and celeriac, both cool-weather favourites of mine. Bagna cauda (‘hot bath’) is often served in Italy as a dipping sauce for crudites. Here it’s a rich and delicious dressing.

Ingredients

Bagna Cauda
7 anchovies, chopped
80 ml olive oil
40 grams butter
1 clove garlic, finely diced
15 grinds black pepper
1 tablespoon warm water
Salad
2 large eggs
½ sourdough loaf, torn into chunks, crusts discarded
30 ml olive oil
100 gram piece pancetta, thinly sliced into strips by hand
1 small celeriac, peeled and finely shaved
1 fennel, finely shaved
1 handful parsley, leaves picked and torn
50 grams parmesan
25 ml sherry vinegar

Method

To make the bagna cauda, warm all ingredients except the water in a small pot. Check the seasoning, add the water, and stir through.

To make the salad, bring a small pot of water to the boil and add the eggs. Boil for 6 minutes to make soft-boiled eggs. Remove and let cool in cold water. Peel.

Toss bread chunks with olive oil and toast in 180°C oven for 10 minutes.

Fry the pancetta pieces until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

Lay the celeriac, fennel and parsley in a shallow serving bowl or platter. Scatter with the bread pieces and top with the pancetta. Roughly break the eggs and scatter over. Shave over most of the parmesan, then dress with the bagna cauda and drizzle with the sherry vinegar. Scatter with a little more parmesan just before serving.

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Caesar salad

serves 4 starters
difficulty moderate
prep time 40mins (approx.)
total time 50mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) eggs, lettuce, cos, Anchovies & Sardines, bacon, mayonnaise
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So, for my Caesar salad, I’ve kept presentation in mind: there’s no soggy, overdressed lettuce and those hairy little anchovies are blended into the dressing for maximum flavour and minimum ‘ick’ factor – unless, of course, you’re an anchovy fan like me and you scatter extra anchovies over the top!

Serve this salad for brunch, as an entrée, or as part of a barbecue spread.

Ingredients

Dressing
1 bulb garlic
½ clove garlic, minced
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
½ lemon, juiced
Salad
6 rashers bacon
4 slices white sourdough bread
1 garlic clove
50 ml olive oil
dash of vinegar
4 eggs
3 baby cos lettuce
150 grams parmesan cheese, shaved
½ cup parsley, finely chopped
½ bunch chives, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon small capers, rinsed and drained
lemon juice, to serve
10 caperberries
8 anchovy fillets, optional, for anchovy lovers like me
salt & pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 150°C. Roast garlic bulb for 30 minutes, then cut in half and squeeze out the soft cloves.

While the garlic is roasting, crisp the bacon in a pan over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, then set aside.

Toast the sourdough slices then rub them with a garlic clove and drizzle with olive oil to make bruschetta. Break or chop into large pieces. Set aside.

To make the dressing, place roasted garlic in a food processor with minced garlic, mayonnaise, sour cream, anchovy fillets and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. If necessary, add a little water to create a runny consistency. Set aside.

Bring water to boil in a small pot with a pinch of salt and a dash of vinegar. When water boils, stir it to create a whirlpool then break eggs into the water. Poach them for 3 minutes (very soft) to 5 minutes (just set). Lift poached eggs out of water and set aside in a warm bowl.

Trim the lettuce and remove any ragged outer leaves. Cut lengthways into 6 pieces, leaving the leaves attached to the core.

Arrange lettuce and bruschetta on a platter and drizzle liberally with the dressing. Scatter with parmesan, parsley, chives, onion, and capers. Arrange the eggs on top and crumble over the crisp bacon. Squeeze over extra lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper and finish with caperberries and extra anchovies, if desired.

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Cured sardines with currants

serves 6 starters
difficulty moderate
prep time 10mins (approx.)
total time 30mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) fish, Anchovies & Sardines, currants
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One of the best ways to eat fresh sardines is in the agrodolce style – that is, agro (angry) and dolce (sweet). In this case, red wine vinegar is the lively ‘agro’ and currants provide the sweetness.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons currants
360 ml sherry vinegar, or other wine vinegar
12 sardine fillets, butterflied
salt and pepper
1 red shallot, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced on a mandolin
80 ml extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced

Method

Boil the currants for 5 minutes in 60 ml of the vinegar, then set aside to cool.

Lay the sardine fillets on a plate. Season them with salt and pepper and scatter over the shallot and garlic slices.

Add the currants and season again. Dress with the olive oil, lemon juice and the remainder of the sherry vinegar.

Leave to cure for 10 minutes before eating.

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Spaghetti with green olive puttanesca

serves 2 mains
difficulty easy
prep time 15mins (approx.)
total time 40mins (approx.)
main ingredient(s) Anchovies & Sardines, olives, spaghetti
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Ingredients

250 grams spaghetti
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
5 very thin slices sourdough baguette, optional
salt and pepper
400 gram tin crushed tomatoes
1 handful oregano, chopped
4 tablespoons green olive paste
10 green olives, pitted and chopped

Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain, retaining 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with a little oil and return to the pot to keep warm.

If making pangrattato, dry-fry the sourdough slices in a frypan for 4 minutes, then add a splash of oil and salt and pepper. Fry until crispy, then allow to cool. Crunch into large crumbs with your hands

Place the tomatoes in a large frypan and add the rest of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then add the oregano and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring often to reduce.

Add the olive paste and the chopped green olives. Stir and cook for 1 minute, then add the hot spaghetti straight from the pot and splash in a little of the pasta water.

Toss the spaghetti with the other ingredients and serve topped with the fried bread, if using.

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