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