THE WORD PINTXOS FILLS ME WITH BOTH DREAD AND JOY. PINTXOS ARE BASQUE TAPAS. IN THE BASQUE CITIES THERE ARE BARS WHERE GREAT PLATES STACKED WITH SLICES OF BREAD TOPPED WITH BOILED FISH IN MAYONNAISE WAIT UNDER LIGHTS FOR TOURISTS TO EAT THEIR WAY THROUGH. THERE IS ONE WORD FOR THESE PARTICULAR PINTXOS, AND THAT IS ‘AVOID’. INSTEAD, THE GREAT FOOD OF BASQUE BAR CULTURE NEEDS TO BE ORDERED OFF THE LITTLE CHALKBOARDS BEHIND THE BAR. THESE PINTXOS ARE GREAT LITTLE DISHES — SOMETIMES INCORPORATING A LITTLE BIT OF FRESHLY COOKED FISH, BUT ALWAYS FRESHLY MADE. IT WAS THIS TRADITION THAT INSPIRED THE BEST-SELLING TAPAS AT OUR MELBOURNE RESTAURANT. ANCHOVIES ARE BIG BUSINESS ON THE NORTHERN COASTLINE OF SPAIN AND THIS RECIPE COMBINES THEIR SALTINESS WITH A HIT OF TANGY, SMOKY TOMATO. ADMITTEDLY SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS MAY BE HARD TO GET — BUT I PROMISED TO PUBLISH THE RECIPE!
Using a very sharp bread knife, trim the crusts off the bread, then cut into a block
Purée the smoked tomatoes in a blender until completely smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl and measure how much liquid you have. Add this back to the blender with exactly half the amount in glucose syrup, then process until smooth.
Place the mixture in an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then freeze for 3–4 hours.
To serve, place an anchovy on each crouton. Using two teaspoons, shape a little of the frozen tomato sorbet into quenelles (or small oval dumplings), place one on top of each anchovy and sprinkle with the capers. Drizzle with a little more oil, sprinkle with the parsley and some sea salt flakes and serve immediately.
© 2009 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.