Anchovy toast with parsley and shallot salad

Anchovy toast with parsley and shallot salad

By
From
The Sunday Night Book
Serves
2
Photographer
Patricia Niven

Anchovy butter is a great fridge staple because it works with so many things: spread on toast to dip into a boiled egg, melted into pasta or rice with some spinach and olives, or rubbed over a lamb or pork chop with some lemon juice before grilling. And for a dairy-free version, just use 80 ml light olive oil instead of the butter. A parsley and shallot salad always reminds me of the inspired accompaniment to roast bone marrow at the original St John restaurant in Smithfield, and of countless happy hours spent in the bar there since it opened. Here is my slightly adapted version of Fergus Henderson’s classic.

This supper sings warm summer evening to me, but if it doesn’t feel substantial enough, a poached egg would be a good addition. And for non-toast-eaters, the salad and anchovy butter would work equally well slathered over some steamed purple sprouting broccoli or spinach or, for die-hard meat-heads, on a rare, grilled bavette steak.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 small banana shallot, finely sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon capers
handful flat-leaf parsley
1 little gem, leaves separated
or 1/2 cos lettuce, leaves separated
sea salt
black pepper
2 thick slices toast of your choice, to serve

For the anchovy butter

Quantity Ingredient
1 x 50 g tin anchovies in olive oil
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
good pinch chilli flakes
1 lemon, zesr finely grated
150g butter
1 lemon, juiced

Method

  1. First, make the anchovy butter. Put the anchovies and the oil from the tin into a food processor, together with the garlic, chilli flakes and lemon zest, and whizz to a paste. If you’re feeling energetic, a pestle and mortar will work too (and give you a little cardio workout as a bonus!). Melt the butter in a small saucepan and, with the motor running, pour it into the food processor in a slow steady stream to form a lovely emulsified paste. If using a pestle and mortar, slowly drizzle in the butter, mixing well to emulsify. Taste and add as much of the lemon juice as you think it can take. With the saltiness of the anchovies, I usually find the salt balance is good, but add a pinch if you think it needs it. The anchovy butter is ready to use, but it will last for several weeks in the fridge – I keep mine in a wide-mouthed jar and take it out of the fridge a good 20 minutes before I want to use it.
  2. When you’re ready to serve this marvellous supper, put the shallot into a bowl with the oil, vinegar and capers. Season with salt and pepper. Roughly chop the parsley and tear any larger lettuce leaves into smaller pieces. Add the parsley and lettuce to the bowl of shallot dressing and toss gently. Spread a good layer of anchovy butter onto hot toast and pile the salad on top.
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