Boiled eggs with anchovy sauce

Boiled eggs with anchovy sauce

Uova sode con acciugata

125 g sauce
Emiko Davies; Lauren Bamford

Salting anchovies was a method of dealing with a glut of these cheap and abundant fish in the days before refrigeration. Around the Tuscan islands and the coast, there are a million uses for them and this sauce, which is a traditional preparation on Giglio Island, is just one – but the sauce in itself has a further million uses.

I could put it on just about anything. If you’re an anchovy-lover like me, you could start by putting it on toast, or tossing through steaming, boiled potatoes, or even as a quick solution to dressing some freshly boiled pasta. Anchovies and cauliflower is a match made in heaven, no matter how they’re combined. The options are only limited to your imagination, though you might see the pattern – anchovies add a boost of flavour to anything that is rather neutral or even perhaps creamy in nature.

Naturally, anchovies are wonderful on eggs in any form. I grew up in the 1980s when devilled eggs were a fixture at gatherings and parties, and I am still partial to the rather old-fashioned but foolproof halved boiled eggs on a platter. Topping boiled eggs with a spoonful of this anchovy sauce is my favourite combination, but a spoonful folded through scrambled eggs makes an incredible breakfast or lunch, too.


Quantity Ingredient
120g salt-packed anchovies, (about 10)
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 large handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
6 eggs


  1. Soak the anchovies in water and clean them following the instructions.
  2. Put the anchovy fillets and oil in a small frying pan over low heat. Let the anchovies cook for about 5 minutes (they will appear to melt down), stirring to break them up.
  3. Add the vinegar, turn the heat up to medium and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and stir until incorporated. Set aside to cool completely.
  4. Pour water into a medium saucepan until it’s 3 cm deep and place over medium heat. Once simmering, carefully add the eggs and cook, covered, for 7½ minutes for an almost set, not too hard or chalky boiled egg. Remove from the heat and plunge the eggs in cold water to cool down straight away. Peel and slice in half. Place the egg halves on a platter and top with about ½ teaspoon of anchovy sauce.


  • Try to get salt-packed anchovies for this recipe. They are worth seeking out for this recipe as they have a different texture and a different quality to anchovies preserved in oil. Use eggs that weigh 55–60 g.

    The anchovy sauce recipe can easily be doubled and it keeps very well in a small jar in the fridge. If you find you don’t use it often (which is an absurd idea in this house), you can pour a layer of olive oil over the top to help keep it longer.


  • In a recipe from Giglio Island from Antiche Ricette di Giglio, a handful of chopped cherry tomatoes are combined with the anchovies in the pan, too. Although a little further afield, this is very similar to another anchovy sauce from Tuscany’s Valdarno, south of Florence, where capers are a must.
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