Monday, June 12, 2006

I Like Anchovies...from Cantabria

I know many people have a thing about anchovies -- I did. They're way too salty and weird and they smell fishy-stinky. Fine for kitties, but for me? Not so much.

However, that was before I went to Barcelona and had REAL anchovies. Let me tell you, don't make any final statements ruling out anchovy consumption until you've tasted these little babies.

In the Boqueria they sold little jars of Pujado Solano anchovies, which in my limited experience of anchovies from Cantabria, were the most spectacular. I guess I can safely say they are the finest of all the anchovies I've tasted in my life thus far. (Anyone with competing options for "Finest Anchovy," please feel free to ship me samples...)

Pujado Solano is not, however, readily available here, but you can get the Ortiz anchovies pictured above online from La Tienda. We found that particular little jar, though, at Whole Foods. Expensive, and not quite as good as the Pujado Solanos, but FAR superior to the average canned anchovy.

We made a little pissaladiere to celebrate the anchovy.



1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons (or more) water
a little coarse cormeal or polenta

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 pounds onions, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small bay leaf
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon drained capers
20 Niçoise olives
16 anchovy fillets

For the Crust:
Mix flour and salt in processor. Add butter and oil. Using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Using on/off turns, mix in enough water 1 tablespoon at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 2 hours.

For the Filling:
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, garlic, bay leaf and thyme; stir to blend. Cover and cook until onions are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Uncover and sauté until most liquid evaporates and onions are golden, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in capers. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Cool completely; discard bay leaf. (Dough and filling can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep dough chilled. Cover and chill filling. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly oil large baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse cornmeal. Roll out dough on floured surface to 11-inch round. Transfer dough to prepared sheet. Crimp edges of dough to form stand-up border. Spread filling evenly over dough. Arrange olives and anchovies decoratively atop filling.

Bake pissaladière until crust is crisp and golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to platter and serve.

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