Tag Archives: anchovies

Grilled Rack of Lamb with Garlic, Chilies and Anchovies

"grilled lamb chop"

My food magazines seem to pile up quickly these days so to encourage myself to sit down long enough to look at them, I make a small pile and carry them from one room to another thinking their physical presence will be a reminder.  It’s not an effective plan on most days for obvious reasons, such as, I’m busy doing other things?

But last Friday the sun unexpectedly graced us with its brilliance burning through the June Gloom, and I found myself daydreaming out the windows instead of doing the dishes, listening to the dribble of water from the fountain on our patio my husband diligently worked on to get the large spout at the top to run well enough to fill the smaller ones.  Will wonders never cease.  It’s a nice sound that distracts me from the traffic just over our wall and watching the hummingbirds trying to bathe themselves in it is hilarious.  I haven’t been able to get a shot of them yet, but give me a few weeks.

I give in to the urge to go out and sit in the warmth.  The sun feels good, so I relax a bit and begin to thumb through the magazines remembering how much I enjoy the summer issues.  Everything is fresh and the recipes are relatively uncomplicated.

It’s not long after I’ve had some time to make a mental list of my favorites that I email my best friend and invite myself and husband to dinner at her house.  It takes a bit of arm wrestling to get her to agree to let me make the entire dinner, but she loves the recipes I mention, so dinner it is.

I make a quick run to the store for ingredients, do some easy prep, and everything is ready to pack up and take to her house for a night of food that comes one dish at a time — with wine, of course.

When’s the last time you grilled lamb?  This recipe is truly delicious, and quite easy to make — even at the last minute.

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Fresh Roasted Pepper and Olive Bruschetta

There are some flavor combinations I never tire of regardless of what time of the year it is.  The classic flavors of basil and tomato with a sprinkle of minced red onion, squirt of lemon, and drizzle of fruity extra virgin olive oil will always entice me. Equally delicious are chopped fresh tomatos, green onions, cilantro, and jalapenos with lime juice — a combination so perfect, I can easily skip the tortilla chips and head right for a spoon to enjoy the salty-tart-spicy flavor that would never be the same without cilantro.  I think I love cilantro even more than basil.

But another combination has come close to pushing both of the others aside as being tops in my mind — or my mouth:  roasted peppers, capers, and briny olives. Ironically, the flavors in this combination would work quite well with many of the others I’ve mentioned, but I enjoy them in a mix like this one — assertively delicious with the unexpected addition of anchovies.

Anchovies?  Those little fish in the can with the curly lid that when I’m ordering a pizza to go topped with “the works” I always politely decline?  The little salty things whose absence would leave a Caesar’s salad an unappetizing plate of flavorless lettuce, and pasta puttanesca without anything to be sassy about beyond a sprinkle of dried red pepper flakes.

Do any of us ever really say we like anchovies?  Probably not, but the key to learning to stop avoiding them is to see them as an ingredient to be mixed with others instead of sitting on top of a pizza.  If the anchovies were mixed into the tomato sauce instead, it would intensify the flavor leaving us to wonder what made it so good.

Think about it.  How many other ingredients which enhance one another when mixed together are basically unpleasant when eaten alone?  Capers.  I’ve tasted them just to see, and they’re quite bitter.  Or in most recipes which call for capers, the directions will advise rinsing them first.  For years, I did just that, and to make sure I understood why, I tasted the brine.  Not pleasant.  But when it’s mixed into many other ingredients, it’s quite fabulous.  Soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar — all are less than pleasant when tasted alone.

Freshly roasted peppers, on the other hand, are perfect alone sprinkled lightly with salt, but they’re truly delicious in this mix. It’s perfect tossed with pasta for a salad when you don’t feel like cooking, or spooned over grilled meat or fish.  It’s helps make an omelet interesting and is especially excellent spread over a piece of crusty bread slathered with goat cheese.

It’s the best party food even if you’re the only one at the party, because then you don’t have to share.

Be brave.  Don’t forget the anchovies.

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