Beurre d’Anchois

Anchovy Butter

This is a traditional Niçois recipe for a sauce that is spread on grilled fish, such as red mullet and bass, or on broiled meat. It keeps well, refrigerated or frozen, and can transform a last-minute hamburger or boiled potatoes into a flavorful treat.

This recipe may lack Niçois integrity because it uses butter instead of the always favored olive oil, but it is delicious.

Ingredients

  • 12 whole anchovies (canned either in oil or in rough salt)
  • 1 pound butter, softened at room temperature
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • freshly ground white pepper

Method

Rinse the anchovies and fillet them (discard the backbones and tails). Cut the anchovy fillets into small pieces with scissors or a knife. Mash to a paste in a mortar and gradually add pieces of butter and lemon juice. When the paste is light and soft, add it to the rest of the softened butter and blend thoroughly. Add pepper and taste—you may wish to add more lemon juice or a good deal of pepper (as I do).

Roll the anchovy butter in the shape of a thick sausage about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap it in a piece of waxed paper and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.