There are few things that bother me more than the phrase “it is what it is” and self-checkout registers at the grocery store. One of those things is people that say they don’t like anchovies. I think these people grew up equating anchovies with the gross pizza their Sicilian uncles ordered during the Super Bowl. I think these people have certainly grown past eating pizza with JUST CHEESE. They might even be quite adventurous eaters now. I also think most of these people have never tried an anchovy as an adult. And I know all this to be true because until my late 20’s, I was one of these sad, anchovy-less people.
Furthermore, I believe the only thing you can do that can actually IMPROVE the taste of BUTTER is to add salty, fishy anchovies. Next time someone says they don’t like anchovies, mash some into butter with garlic and herbs and a little bit of lemon zest, spread it on a crusty piece of wood-fired sourdough and toast that baby. If they still don’t like anchovies they have the palate of a 5 year old and you should just order them a hamburger, ketchup only, on the side. Or a piece of pizza they can pick the vegetables off of.
Farming in the humid, unpredictable environment that is Southern Appalachia has led me to an obsession of pests and blight. Spraying copper on all my potatoes, beans, tomatoes, squash and melons over the past two days has seemed very tedious. It also led me to dig up a couple potato plants and to my surprise, there were small little bunches of new potatoes underneath in only 6 weeks!
I knew they had to be eaten simply and immediately.
Boiled New Potatoes with Fresh Peas and Anchovy Butter
2 cups small new potatoes
1 cup fresh shell peas
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon scallion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon anchovy minced
1 tablespoon fresh dill, lightly chopped
Place the potatoes in small pot and cover with salted water, bring to a boil and simmer until just easily pierced with a paring knife. Add peas to water, boil for 1 minute until peas are just cooked and strain in colander. Set aside and cover.
Meanwhile, combine butter, minced peas and scallion in a small saucepan and melt together.
Place peas and potatoes in a bowl and pour melted anchovy butter over top. Squeeze a little bit of fresh lemon juice over top. Sprinkle salt and fresh dill over the whole bowl. This is a great spring time side dish to a piece of grilled fish or steak. As I usually do when I cook for myself I put this in a bowl and threw a poached egg on top of it. And I’ll probably do the same with the leftovers for breakfast. I would say the only way to improve this dish is to throw a dollop of sour cream on top and eat it cold like potato salad over greens. Be creative!