The online magazine
dedicated to the
discussion & revival
of British foodways.

NO.53
SUMMER2017

Anchovy Butter

Anchovy

Historical English cookbooks and revivalist writers in print as early as the 1970s all recommend anchovy butter with grilled fish and beef steaks. Their consensus is irrefutable.


-4 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature (soft)
-2 anchovies, pounded to a paste, or ½ teaspoon anchovy paste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne


  1. Mix everything together until you have a uniform consistency and color.
  2. Separate the anchovy butter into four portions and refrigerate so that the butter melts dramatically over the hot fish or beef.

Notes:

- Eliza Acton adds both nutmeg and mace: Try ¼ teaspoon of each at first, increasing the amount of each, alone or in combination, to your taste. The Editor usually throws in ¼ teaspoon of mace alone.

- Miss Acton also recommends making a sauce for fish from anchovy butter. Try mashing together this batch of anchovy butter with a teaspoon of flour, then adding about 2-3 ounces of cold water or fish, shrimp, pork or veal stock. Whisk everything together over medium low heat just until the sauce boils. Serve immediately.

- Elizabeth David soaks the anchovies in milk for an hour, then drains them before mashing. In theory you get a milkier flavor, with less salt and fish, but I do not notice much difference.

- Happily, the Hayes Street Grill survives and thrives.