Monday, May 24, 2010

From the recipe graveyard, behold: Anchovy and walnut sauce

Quick, who's your favourite chef?

Not such an easy question to answer, is it?

My immediate response would usually be Jamie Oliver. Mostly, I think, because when I first started to get excited about cooking, it was his cooking. But time has passed and my cookbook collection has expanded (modestly), and I've made room in my heart for a few others...

The River Café. Sophia Loren. Giorgio Locatelli. (Hm, I'm sensing a bit of a theme here...) Julia Child. Skye Gyngell. What's more, the way a cookbook is written has begun to appeal to me more than the pretty pictures.

Sometimes I just sit and look at the spines, wondering if I'll ever get around to cooking even a quarter of the dishes between those covers.

I also have a scrap book packed with recipes printed out from various blogs and websites over the years. (You too? I think we print-out kleptos should form a support group.) I've begun to refer to it affectionately as the 'recipe graveyard'. Most of the pages are loose, jammed in there haphazardly with the thought (more of a prayer, really) that one day I will actually sit down, order them and stick their asses down.

But yesterday was not that day.

In fact, I'm wretchedly grateful I hadn't got round to sorting that hellish mess of paper print-outs, because then I probably wouldn't have discovered this recipe for another five or ten... okay, fine: probably never.

I was reaching for another book entirely when the recipe graveyard went tumbling to the floor. Miraculously, only one piece of paper escaped, and on it was the recipe you see below.

Anchovy and walnut sauce. Let's just think about that... Anchovy. And Walnut. Sauce. I'm not particlarly religious, but in that moment I felt I was being called upon by a higher power to create something divine.

And now I'm going to spread the word.

Anchovy and walnut sauce by Skye Gyngell
Makes enough for 6

This sauce is best made on the day it is to be eaten.

2 good-quality anchovies
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
A handful of shelled walnuts, finely chopped
100ml/31/2fl oz extra-virgin olive oil

Pound all the ingredients except the oil in a pestle and mortar until smooth, then pour in the oil and stir well to combine. Spoon over any lightly cooked green vegetable, such as broccoli, spinach or chard.

[I spooned the sauce over lightly steamed broccoli and zucchini, but I can’t wait to try it on fish, crusty bread and even chicken.]

Pssst, by the way, I've created a recipe index, which you may have noticed, on the right, beneath my prattle about myself. I hope it'll make our lives easier.


  1. That sounds very yummy.

    White anchovies in olive oil are different and pretty good - last night we had some on toast with avocado and homemade mayonnaise.
    Together with baby tomatoes and sour chilli olives it was a very tasty meal...
    Am looking forward to trying them on devilled eggs for breakfast one of these mornings

  2. This supports the (serious) business school theory that disorganised people are more productive (can you believe it an academic has written a book on it). An organised person who files everything is less likely to stumble upon something important. I have a recipe sommewhere where you preserve this sauce but I didn't file it! Lets hope it reveals itself to me when I really feel like having the sauce in my pantry.

  3. I like that idea Tom.... Robyn :-)

  4. What an intriguing, delicious sounding sauce. Artichokes and asparagus are now in season where I live - unlike in RSA - and I can definitely picture this as a wonderful dipping sauce for both. Many thanks for sharing this keeper recipe. Stumbled.

  5. Wow, what an interesting combo. I would love to give this a go!

  6. Oooooh what a delightful sounding recipe. I like!! Will definitely try it. Thanx Robyn ;o) So beautifully written....xx

  7. Yuck, sounds awful, but I'll try most things. As tou your question, I'd say Gordon Ramsay because he's a perfectionist.

  8. Hi! just dropping a line to say thanks for visiting my blog... will be following you too!

  9. Mine would be Mr. Charlie Trotter.

    Love your achovies and walnut sauce. Sounds superb!

  10. You got me. Jamie Oliver is a good one, but there are so many. It's hard to choose! This combination sounds fantastic so, perhaps, on this day you are my favorite chef!

  11. A very unique combo! A must try for sure!

  12. I like this sauce a lot! Heck I might even try it real soon, not file it away!

  13. Sounds like a great combo - will def try it, might even try feature it in one of our tapas Friday entries! love this blog!

  14. oh this sounds wonderful i have a book just like this one, but guess what i am getting a recipe iPhone app developed that may help with mine anyway, let me know if you want any added to it!


  15. I'm thinking the whole thing was fate! This looks like a delicious spread.

    i have so many recipes bookmarked and so many's insane!

  16. How wonderful! You have a fantastic site! I found your blog through chow and chatter. We returned from a South African holiday several months ago and already miss it. I am excited to find a great SA resource such as your site. I hope you will visit mine and check out the South African inspired recipes from after our return. I learned of South African 5 spice, roobios, peri-peri and many other gr=eat things fromn the chefs during our (working-culinary) vacation.

  17. Yummy! My favourite chefs are Rocco DiSpirito, Joe Worsley and Anna Olson.

  18. Lovely idea (and I'm not an anchovy-liking kinda gal). The first answer to your question. My aunt. Yes, Jamie was entertaining, but man, I bought 2 of his books and all the recipes just didn't represent his shows at all, with regards to the taste, well let me say, I think our palates differ. My aunt on the other hand, always makes about 13 different dishes when i visit. And this is not only during Christmas time. I have to taste just about every dish, from mushrooms on lettuce to pork belly roast and steamed fish with ginger dressed with julienned pickled veggies on top, I think her secret is soya sauce.

    I can see she'll like the anchovy and walnut dip/sauce, and it will go well on one of her many dishes to come my way, this where she can omit the soya.

  19. Love your blog and when I want to feel homesick I click on!And your recipes are fabulous!

  20. I also love Skye Gyngell!! She rocks the culinary world. She cooks a lot like me!! I love her approach to cooking!!

    This dish is no exception!! The dish looks absolutely fab!!

  21. Mmm, Skye Gingell is fabulous - I was at Petersham Nurseries again 2 weeks ago and everything she makes just WORKS! I am in the same boat as you with the recipe hoarding though... and my favourite chef has got to be Nigel Slater :)