Everyone is familiar with salted anchovies in cans but, in the Mediterranean, cooks have used salted anchovies to enhance the flavour of dishes for centuries. The fish fillets are liberally salted, packed in pressurized containers and left to mature for up to 10 months. As they are stored at a fairly high temperature (15–30°C/59–86°F), bacteria and enzymes in the fish begin to produce all manner of complex aromas. If you concentrate, you can detect hints of mushroom, meat, butter, sugar and even fruits or flowers, mixed with the fish. Salted anchovies dissolve easily in sauces and other dishes.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Total Time: 15 Minutes
- 400 g/14 oz linguine (or any dried pasta of your choice)
- 100 g/4 oz/⅔ cup whole blanched almonds
- 20 g/¾ oz/1½ tbsp butter
- handful of sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 × 50-g (2-oz) can of anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
- extra virgin olive oil, for frying and drizzling
- salt and pepper
- Boil the pasta in a large pan of lightly salted water until al dente. Just before the pasta is ready, spoon 1 tablespoon of the cooking water into a cup and set aside. Drain the pasta in a colander and mix with a little olive oil to prevent it sticking together.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan (skillet) over medium-high heat and fry the almonds for about 1 minute, stirring constantly until they are golden brown. Add the butter and half the sage.
- Mash half the anchovy fillets with a fork, add to the pan and cook for a further 1 minute. Add the pasta and the reserved pasta water and toss everything together. Season with pepper – extra salt is not necessary as the anchovies are already quite salty. Serve garnished with the rest of the anchovy fillets and sage, drizzled with extra olive oil.