Broccoli with Anchovies

The textures and flavours of broccoli and anchovies combine perfectly, and the addition of really crisp breadcrumbs gives an added crunch which is very pleasing. In the restaurant I use leftover olive oil croutons made the day before to accompany fish soup, simply whizzing them in the food processor for a few seconds.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 French baguette (stale will do if not too hard)
  • 675g/1 ½lb broccoli
  • 1 large red chilli pepper
  • 300 ml/½pt olive oil
  • 55 g/2 oz canned anchovies in oil, drained
  • few drops of lemon juice (optional)

Utensils

  • roasting tray
  • food processor
  • heavy frying pan
  • large saucepan
  • large bowl
  • small saucepan
  • colander

Method

Mise en Place

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas6. Slice the bread into 5mm/¼in rounds, then brush generously with olive oil and put on a baking tray in the oven. Check every few minutes, as they tend to burn the instant you turn your back When crisp and golden, remove the bread and leave to cool. Using a food processor, make the bread into crumbs. These will keep in a jar in the fridge for a few days before souring and going off.

Prepare the broccoli: first put a large pan of lightly salted water on to heat - you need very little salt in the cooking water as the florets retain salt and intensify the seasoning. I once had a review that said everything was lovely except the broccoli, which tasted as if it had been cooked in sea water. Point taken! • Split the broccoli into florets and cut out the woody stems and discard. You can find caterpillar infestation, so watch out. Wash and leave to soak in a bowl of cold water. This will freshen the vegetable.

Make the anchovy sauce: split the chilli and deseed it, then dice it microscopically. Put the olive oil into the small pan with the diced chilli and anchovies and heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer for a few minutes, then add the breadcrumbs off the heat Stir from time to time while the sauce is cooling or it will set like cement Taste, adding a squeeze of lemon juice if you find it too rich. The only problem with lemon juice is that it can discolour the broccoli.

Cooking

Cook the broccoli in the boiling water. It will not need very many minutes - it really should be quite crisp and will be disgusting if overdone. Drain in the colander.

Serving

Arrange on a warmed serving dish and pour over the anchovy sauce.

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