Anchovy and artichoke gratin

Anchovy and artichoke gratin

Acciughe e carciofi gratinati

By
From
Acquacotta
Serves
4
Photographer
Emiko Davies; Lauren Bamford

This is inspired by a traditional fisherman recipe from Giglio Island, where the dish is normally made with just anchovies and eaten with a purée of fresh tomatoes. Artichokes grow abundantly in this part of Tuscany and are used in countless ways in the late winter and spring when they fill up the markets crate by crate. Their tangy and fresh flavour pairs wonderfully with this tasty, meaty fish and this is a very simple, quick preparation once you have the anchovy fillets ready.

When artichokes aren’t in season, I think this is rather nice with very thin slices of potato (a mandoline would be handy for this).

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
600g whole fresh anchovies
3 artichokes
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
3-4 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine
25g fine dried breadcrumbs
crusty bread, to serve

Method

  1. The anchovies should be cleaned (interior and heads removed) and butterflied (see how to clean fresh anchovies). Once you do this, you should have 400 g fresh, cleaned anchovy fillets.
  2. To prepare the artichokes, first fill a large bowl with cold water and squeeze the lemon juice into it – this is to stop the cut and exposed parts of the artichoke from oxidising. Peel the tough outer leaves of the artichokes until you come to very pale and tender leaves. Trim the stalk to about 2 cm and peel. Cut the artichokes in half. Put one half in the lemon water while you work on the other half: remove the fluffy choke with a teaspoon and then slice the artichoke halves finely. Place the slices in the lemon water and continue until you have sliced all the artichokes. Until needed, cover the water with two sheets of paper towel to help protect the top layer of artichokes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  4. When ready to assemble the dish, drain the artichoke slices. Grease a rectangular casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Scatter over the chopped garlic and parsley. Place one layer (about half) of the anchovies, skin side down, over the top of the garlic and parsley. Scatter over about half of the artichoke slices in a layer and season with salt and pepper. Repeat a layer of anchovies, then a layer of artichoke slices, salt and pepper.
  5. Sprinkle the white wine over the top, then scatter over the breadcrumbs evenly followed by the rest of the olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 15–20 minutes.
  6. Serve with a nice loaf of crusty bread.

Note

  • If you’d prefer to buy the anchovies already prepared, ask your fishmonger for 400 g fresh, cleaned anchovy fillets.
Tags:
Italian
Tuscany
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