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Anchovy tomato sauce

The version of this recipe found in The Union Square Café Cookbook (New York 1994) by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano uses the debris leftover from pan frying steaks in olive oil as its base, but we found that a little problematic, and entirely unrelaxing in its last minute requirement, because it requires more time to prepare than the chops need to rest so that they become too cooled. It also uses a considerably higher proportion of anchovies, whose flavor overawes the other ingredients. At britishfoodinamerica we prefer this balanced sauce to its progenitor. Four servings.

Feeding Fish-1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil, or a combination of the two
-1 heaped Tablespoon minced salt pork (preferred) or bacon
-1 teaspoon smashed and minced garlic
-3 Tablespoons minced shallots
-about 1 Tablespoon (more or less to taste)minced anchovies
-about 2 cups chopped canned tomatoes (and see the notes)
-2 Tablespoons malt vinegar
-1 heaped tablespoon minced parsley
-1 heaped Tablespoon minced scallions (greens only)

  1. Melt the butter or/and oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat and throw the pork or bacon into the pan until the meat renders, increase the heat to high and continue to cook, stirring, until the meat turns golden. This will not take much time after you have increased the heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring, until they soften and acquire a little color.
  3. Stir the anchovies into the mix, increase the heat back to high and add the tomatoes and cook the sauce until it thickens almost to the consistency of ketchup.
  4. Pour on the vinegar, reduce the heat back to medium, add pepper to taste and cook for a minute or two.
  5. Stir the parsley and scallions into the sauce, check the seasoning for salt and serve hot.


- Italian canned tomatoes, San Marzanos if you can get them, are far better quality for some reason than their American ‘Italian style’ counterparts. Why can’t we can a decent plum tomato? We grow good ones.

- The labelling of canned tomatoes in the United States is deceptive so look for the phrase ‘product of Italy’ or ‘canned in Italy.’ Some of the domestic impostors even sport a little Italian tricolor, much the same way that a widespread Chinese brand of frozen crawfish tails carries the name “Boudreau” within a silhouette of geographical Louisiana; beware. If you cannot get any canned Italian tomatoes at your benighted grocer, then settle for domestic diced tomatoes; for some other obscure reason they are better than domestic plum tomatoes. Within the EU, forget about anything Turkish and cleave to the Italians too.

- You could use fresh tomatoes, but, for this sauce in particular, only the best you can find and only at the height of the season. Peel and seed them first and use closer to 3 cups.

- A little hot sauce at Step 3 does no harm.

- If you prefer comparative less anchovy flavor, wipe them down to reduce their coatings of oil rather than scrimping on the fish themselves.

- The Union Square Café is undeniably good, although on some nights it does coast on past glory, as well as vaguely Italian, so its anchovy tomato sauce uses red wine vinegar and omits our scallions. Sherry vinegar is another excellent option.

- Coating chops with an egg wash and breadcrumbs or batter has fallen from fashion in the United States but, even though we like a good char too, the practice deserves revival. The coating creates a crisp savory crust that complements the rich and chewy meat. According to Mrs. Ayrton, Edward VII himself was more than fond of the technique:

Cutlets Edward VII