Preserved anchovies … the secret Samaritan. A bit like the Beast or the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Ugly, feared and misunderstood. But possessing a true heart of gold.
Definitely an acquired taste when eaten raw, once cooked they somehow melt into the background, providing a savoury backbone to any dish. Fish sauce, made from fermented fish, and central to most Southeast Asian cookery, performs a similar role.
Purple-sprouting broccoli is a seasonal treat and one of the few things to emerge from the garden in the lean months of March and April. You can use normal broccoli instead, and that ‘tender-stem’ stuff they sell in the supermarket works beautifully here, too.
Steam the broccoli for 5 minutes.
Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan over a low heat, and cook the garlic and chilli very gently for about 5 minutes, making sure they don’t burn. Add the anchovies, remove from the heat and bash with
Return the pan to the heat, add the broccoli and cook gently for a further 5–7 minutes. Serve hot.
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