DELICIOUS TINNED ANCHOVIES – YES REALLY!!

This is a dish where the whole is significantly greater than the sum of its parts. It’s delicious and simple and works equally well as a light lunch or an hors d’oeuvre. “Cogollos con anchoas” – Little Gem hearts with anchovy fillets is a classic north Spanish dish popular throughout Spain. The secret is to get hold of a tin or jar of fat, salted Cantabrican or Basque anchovies and a head of fresh, firm sweet garlic. Don’t bother with the typical flat tins of dried-out, woody little fillets we all hated as kids (and which give preserved anchovies a bad name generally) and don’t use old garlic. Anyhow – for two people – simply wash/refresh and quarter two lettuce hearts length-ways and place as shown in the photo in a large, round, heat-proof dish. Cut four anchovy fillets in half, also length-ways and lay the eight halves along the ridge of the eight lettuce segments. Heat a half-cup of decent “cooking” olive oil in a skillet  on a medium flame. Meanwhile take eight large cloves of the garlic, peel, and slice roughly, then drop into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown but DO NOT BURN!! Pour all the garlic and oil over the lettuce and anchovies and serve with a fresh baguette or any crusty sour-dough bread. Goes brilliantly with our own Malaga wine (as in the photo). We tend to eat the hearts and anchovies first then finish by dunking the bread in the olive oil and garlic. The combined tastes of the anchovies, olive oil and garlic is synergy in the mouth…

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