Hors D’Oeuvre of Anchovy, Peppers and Potatoes

Browsing through old cook books is a productive pastime. I found this recipe in Madame Prunier’s Fish Cookery Book, and altered it a little. It is a great favourite in our house.

Ingredients

  • 2 large floury potatoes, peeled
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 tin anchovies, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons fruity olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Remove the skins from the peppers by putting them in a very hot oven (gas mark 8/450°F/230°C) for about 5 minutes or until the skin blisters. Take them out of the oven and put them in a plastic bag. As soon as they have cooled down peel off the skins and cut each pepper lengthways into eight pieces, discarding any seeds.

Steam the potatoes. On individual plates lay out the strips of pepper – this is a very decorative dish – and place on top a few strips of anchovy fillets. Pour a little of the anchovy oil over each plate.

Mix together the vinegar, oil and seasoning. As soon as the potatoes are cooked and can be handled, grate a ring of fluffy potato around the peppers on each plate. Spoon over the dressing and serve immediately.

Potatoes have even made their way onto the stage. Aphis Vast-tater was a giant tuber rising above a giant aphis that appeared in pantomimes in the 1840s. According to Mr Alfred Smee, Surgeon to the Bank of England, the aphis vastator was the cause of the potato blight.

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