The day has come


I’ve never allowed myself to eat anchovies until yesterday, when I thumbed a copy of River Café Cook Book Easy and dared myself to buy a jar of those hairy, slippery fillets.  It is to Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray that I owe my wholly unexpected volte-face, which is manifested here in their delightfully easy and deceptively tasteful green bean salad. Without the anchovies (which I must enforce are cut very, very finely) the whole affair would doubtless be lacking.

I took my salad on a probationary outing to a friend’s for supper where, by coincidence, he matched it with a fresh parpadelle with chilli, capers and anchovies. I think most ‘chovy-haters would repulse at the speed with which my conversion has occurred (literally overnight) but trust me, friends, I now find myself trying to slip them in to everything.

Plunge a big handful of topped/tailed green beans into salted, boiling water until softened. Squeeze half a lemon into a bowl, add a glug of olive oil, a couple of teaspoons of capers and a small handful of pitted black olives. Ruth and Rose specify Nicoise, but I always use whichever olives I prefer at my local deli, so this is very much up to you. It happened that mine had a perfectly suited citrus marinade. Finely slice as many anchovy fillets as you can bear, probably 4 or 5*, into small and unrecognisable parts, and stir well into the bowl of vinaigrette. Drain and refresh the beans in cold water and tip immediately into the bowl, dousing the beans well. Tear a few basil leaves over the salad and eat immediately.

*Oiled tend to be more readily available. If using salted, soak in cold water for some time before use. None of this appeals to me at the moment, since I am only new.


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6 Responses to The day has come

  1. A says:

    Anchovies have been a particular hate of mine ever since my parents started slipping them into all of our meals when I was a little ‘un. I became quite adept at hunting them down in pizzas and all sorts of meals.

    But you promise that they made the salad better? I might have to try it but I’ll be back to report on it, depending on the outcome…

  2. saladclub says:

    Well, exactly. That’s the experience – and distrust – I thought most people had encountered with anchovies. It turns out that most sensible adults like them and when you’re interested in cooking, it really is embarrassing to say that there are things you don’t like. I have therefore put the past behind me and forged a pretty stable relationship with them.


  3. Lizzie says:

    This sentence: “I’ve never allowed myself to eat anchovies until yesterday” makes it sound like you had an indecent love of anchovies and had to be held back!

    I don’t think any children like anchovies, but I’m so glad I tried them again as an adult. My culinary life would be incomplete without them.

  4. Erin says:

    I love anchovies and put them in loads of stuff including meatballs and steak and ale pie. They melt away and add no fishy flavour at all, just a lovely salty taste with a bit of extra bite you wouldn’t get from regular salt.

  5. kingbiscuitpants says:

    i have a weird untrustworthy child who loves anchovies as do I in salads (used moderately) they are great though in general I’m a sardine man myself

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