This is a dish we often serve to the guests as a nibble on arrival. It comes originally from Puglia (the heel of Italy) and can only be made with fresh anchovies, not tinned or jarred. Small fresh sardines or herrings make an acceptable substitute. Boning anchovies sounds micro-surgical, but is in fact simplicity itself.
Slice the potatoes very thinly and keep in cold water until needed. Now for the anchovies. Rinse them lightly and then cut or pull off the heads and discard. With your thumb and forefinger, run down either side of the spine, pressing gently The fillets will start to come away. As this happens, open up the fish and pull the bones out. You will now have two fillets joined at the belly in a triangular shape. Rinse carefully, especially in the belly area, and lay out on a tray. Season lightly and add a little oil. Refrigerate.
Drain the potatoes and pat dry. Lightly oil the frying pan and arrange the slices in overlapping circles to form a potato galette. Sprinkle with more oil, the oregano and a little chopped garlic, and season lightly. Put the pan over a medium heat and cook until the potatoes start to fry in the oil: do not stir or shake. Put the pan in the
Mix the breadcrumbs with the remaining garlic and the parsley, and process to a fine meal. Arrange the anchovy fillets in a radial pattern on the potato galette. Scatter with breadcrumbs to coat lightly, moisten with a little oil and
The tart can be assembled and held until needed but the final baking must be at the last minute. As soon as the tart is ready, slide a flexible spatula under the edges of the potato base to check that it hasn’t stuck. Then carefully but swiftly tilt the tart out of the pan and on to a chopping board. (This is why you needed a nonstick pan.) Cut into wedges – a pizza cutter is best for this – and eat immediately.
© 1996 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.