A recipe for toast? Have we given up? Absolutely not. And neither has Bondi’s Fish Shop head chef Joel Bennetts. “Anchovy toast, for me, is the kind of snack that I make in crisis mode, when I want something quick and delicious and I want to demolish it in 10 minutes,” he says.
The Sydney chef says his recipe, which is a go-to at home during the tail-end of summer, is light and acidic thanks to the vinegar in the pickled eschalots. It’s also full of flavour from the herbaceous ingredients in his salsa verde – which you can blitz and bottle up in advance or make on the spot for a topping of sweet and spicy capers, chilli, coriander and parsley.
“I’d make it on toasted bread, which we chargrill in the restaurant, or on stale bread at home,” he tells Broadsheet. “It’s an easy, cheap option and I could sit there and eat six of them.”
Bennetts says his favourite place to eat anchovy on toast when dining out is at Ragazzi, which comes on a garlic-butter base traditionally found in Europe, but his salsa verde version is just as transportive. “It gives me that nostalgic feeling I can’t seem to shake. The fragrance of herbs, the lemon juice in sea salt. It’s how I truly love to eat,” he says.
“For the anchovies, we use Ortiz ones but I’m a sucker for the ones that come in a glass jar from Harris Farm. The oil is a bonus.”
It’ll take you a mere 10 minutes to blitz the salsa verde, and though Bennetts says the pickled eschalots are best if they’ve had 24 hours to soak in the merlot vinegar, “if you were to pickle them before you do anything else, or heat them to help the process, you’ll have an acidic, crunchy topping.” He adds, “you maintain the crunch of the onion better without the heat”.
If you only focus your efforts on one thing, let it be the salsa verde. “It’s so versatile. The recipe makes about 20 servings of it and you can think of it like a pesto. Use it on charred cabbage, salads and steak. You can keep it in the fridge for a couple of weeks; use olive oil to keep it green and the flavours will only develop more over time.”
As for the bread, Bennetts says any bread or cracker of choice will work. “Your best bet is to go to Iggys or Sonoma and buy fresh bread in the morning. But even a lavosh cracker, Turkish bread or a baguette would be perfect with the onion.”
Anchovy toast with salsa verde and pickled eschalots
Preparation time: 10 minutes
1-2 slices sourdough
Anchovies (Joel’s favourites are Yurrita Cantabrian or Ortiz)
Pickled eschalots (see below)
Salsa verde (see below)
6 large eschalots, finely sliced
50g baby capers
50ml lemon juice
500ml olive oil
To make the pickled eschalots, cover them in merlot vinegar, ideally 24 hours beforehand. They will store for weeks in the fridge.
For the salsa verde, combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse into a fine paste. Store in the fridge until ready to eat and cover with olive oil to preserve the colour of the herbs.
To assemble the toast, grill the bread then top with salsa verde and spread all over. Top with anchovies and garnish with pickled eschalots.
Looking for more recipe inspiration? See Broadsheet’s recipe hub.