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.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas6. Slice the bread into
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.
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.
Arrange on a warmed serving dish and pour over the anchovy sauce.
© 1993 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.