Ortiz anchovies....the dream finally realised
I finally get it (not that I'm paraphrasing Epicure, or anything). I really do. I finally understand what all the fuss is about.
I have been wanting to try the Spanish Ortiz anchovies for so damn long now. Every foodie thing I read raves about their meatiness, their sweetness, their general not-awful-like-a-pizza-ishness. So, a few months back, I hooked up with Plum and went on an expedition to Simon Johnston to spend a voucher I got for my birthday. Hmm - $150 at Simon Johnston doesn't get you very far! A 60g small bar of Valrhona was $10.
But I found me my Ortizs, just the regular size like you'd buy in a supermarket, and had a chat with the staff woman who said the best way to try them was just over some simple spaghetti with olive oil. So, at home today and at a loose end for lunch, I gave it a go.
Not one to just dump some mega-expensive anchovies on pasta, I pulled out some fine spaghettini. A simple dressing like this would be ruined by big, chunky pasta. Then I started by really slowly cooking a LOT of garlic in olive oil and butter. A small pinch of chilli. I didn't want the garlic to brown, so kept it as low as possible. While the pasta cooked, with hand shaking over the tin I opened the anchovies, carefully not spilling a drop of the platinum oil. Of course I had to have a taste - and yes, they are wonderful. Yes, they're soft and meaty and not crunchy and hard like the usuals. They're pinker and generally more appealing to look at. And they do have a sweetness to go along with the general anchovy saltiness. Now, when people said they were sweet, I was almost expecting them to NOT taste like anchovies, but the salty taste was still there. Yay! I love salt! I love anchovies! I love these expensive anchovies!
I melted just one into my garlicky, buttery oil. Threw the pasta into the pan and tossed it about, then added a few more achovies on top. Some of the anchovy oil and a squeeze of lemon juice to cut through it. Some cracked pepper. Then went outside into the beautiful sun, with a glass of chardonnay and enjoyed a rather excellent lunch.
The cost for my 50 gram tin of Ortiz anchovies?.....$15.
Have I left some for another occasion? You betcha.
*NB I saw them, as well as Ortiz tuna at the Spanish stall at the Borough market in London recently. About 7 pounds for the same tiny tin - expensive over there too!
Labels: Savoury Foods