Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Anchovy Paste and Recipe for Anchovy Butter

As far as I’m concerned, anchovy paste exists so that I can make anchovy butter. It’s practically all I do with tubes of the purple-y stuff in toothpaste-style tubes.  Though, of course, there’s a whole world of anchovy paste-friendly ideas out there. You can even just eat it straight. But it's better in butter. 

Thank You, Julia
I know, it was a few years ago, but from the moment Meryl Streep stepped out into the Parisian sunshine as Julia Child in the film Julie and Julia, you knew she was channeling the legend herself and relishing every last bite. Thank goodness.  I admit I was worried we might be subjected to a caricature, but happily I was wrong. With each gesture, sigh and flip of the whisk, Streep showed us that, deep in her big, beautiful bones, Julia knew that food matters.  

Mastering the Art of French Cooking, her first cookbook, was born in Paris and published in America in 1961. Beautifully detailed, far from politically correct, and blissfully unconcerned with calories and fat, it still stands as a masterpiece. And the more we learn about Julia, the more we love the woman who had the most wonderful love affair with her husband and with the art of cooking. She was a force to reckon with but she also remained humble, all her life. I recall sitting in a food writing seminar in San Francisco, more than 25 years ago, and guess who sat right behind me. Actually taking notes! As if she had anything to learn, I thought. Then I came to my senses. One of the most beautiful aspects of studying food and wine is that no one can ever know it all.. We are all always still learning – that’s the beauty of it. 

Butter, of course, played a starring role in Julia's life —in her books, on her classic television shows, and in the movie.  As she always said, “You can never have too much butter…” 

So I leave you with one of her simpler recipes—a  heady anchovy butter. She advises serving it over broiled fish, adding to egg fillings, sandwiches, and sauces. You can also just slather it on toasted baguette slices and enjoy with glass of chilled Champagne and a copy of her dreamy memoir, My Life In France.

Julia Child’s Beurre d’Anchois:

One-half cup butter, 2 T mashed canned anchovies or 1 T anchovy paste; pepper, lemon juice to taste; optional 1 to 2 T minced parsley or mixed green herbs. Cream the butter well. A half teaspoon at a time, beat in the anchovies or anchovies paste. Season to taste with pepper, drops of lemon juice, and optional herbs.  Bon appétit!

Lots more on anchovies and a link to Bonchovie (why didn't I think of that?!) in NYC.

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  1. So what does one use anchovy butter with? I imagine it's good on hot noodles, but what else is it for?

  2. Hi, as noted in post: serve over broiled fish, add to egg fillings, sandwiches, and sauces. You can also just slather it on toasted baguette slices and enjoy with glass of chilled Champagne. You might want to also check out the NY Times article link at the end of the post. Thanks for visiting!