Tortirio d’Alici e Patate

Anchovy and Potato Tart

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • 1 tart for

    4

    people as an appetiser or lunch dish

Appears in

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.

Ingredients

  • 500 g potatoes (not new, regular ‘bakers’ are fine), peeled
  • 500 g large fresh anchovies
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp good olive oil
  • ½ tsp oregano (dried is fine)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 200 g Crisp Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. You will need a non-stick ovenproof frying pan 25 cm in diameter.

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 oven for 10 minutes to part-cook the potatoes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little.

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 return to the oven for 10 minutes to cook the anchovies.

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.