Anchoïade, a garlic and anchovy dip, is a specialty from Provence and the city of Collioure in particular, famous for its anchois. It is typically served with an assortment of raw vegetables, or spread on little toasts. When I was in Lourmarin for Easter, my aunt served a delicious anchoïade for lunch the first day, and it had the consistency of a thin mayonnaise. I have also seen anchoïades that were thicker and chunkier, a bit like tapenade, and this is what mine was like.
I made this anchoïade as an appetizer for our dinner with Derrick and Melissa on Saturday. Traditional recipes call for anchovies packed in salt, which I had never used before. They were somewhat difficult to come by, anchovies packed in oil are much easier to find, but I finally located some and soaked them overnight. The next day however, once the heads and spines were removed (which was a bit of a mess and left a nice pungent smell on my fingers), the yield was not as much as I had hoped, and I had to go out and buy more, going for the oil-marinated ones this time since I had no time to soak them. This worked fine, so unless someone has anchovy-handling tips to share, I probably won’t bother with salt-packed anchovies next time, as indicated in the recipe below.
The anchoïade was served with a bowl of assorted crudités bought fresh from the market that morning (oh, the joy of the market under the pouring rain), featuring: spring leeks and spring garlic (delicious, and almost indistinguishable from each other except for the shape of their base, straight for the leek and rounded for the garlic), sticks of young zucchini (raw zucchini is way underrated — stick to small ones and you’ll see what I mean), raw fennel, pink radishes and plum tomatoes. The choice of veggies provided a nice variety of tastes (sweet, aniseedy, sharp, peppery) to match the salty smooth anchoïade.
With this I also served grissini (Italian breadsticks) from Piemont, handmade in the traditional way and thinner that ordinary grissini, and we washed it all down with dry muscat.
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- 200g (7oz) anchovies, packed in oil, drained
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly minced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 80 to 120 ml (1/3 to 1/2 cup) olive oil
- Combine the anchovies and garlic in a mortar and grind them into a thick paste (alternatively, use a food processor).
- Transfer to a bowl, add in the vinegar, then whisk in the olive oil, a little at a time, until the mixture gets to the desired consistency -- thin or thick, depending on what you want to use it for, a dip or a spread.