Anchovy Toasts + Romesco

Anchovy Toasts + Romesco |
Roasted Red Peppers |

Sometimes when you're in the middle of blizzard #4 (roses are red, violets are blue, winter storm Neptune I'm talking 'bout you), it's time to play a little make believe. Soups, and stews, and casseroles are hearty and wintry and all that but they are also a reminder of the upcoming date you have with your shovel. Hence I figured Valentine's Day was the perfect opportunity for a little culinary 'staycation' of Spanish pinchos. Although optimally enjoyed al fresco at a European cafe with water views while seated in one of those charming French bistro chairs, our kitchen table made a fine substitute. Tip: put your spread on a tray and you've instantly got an occasion.

Ever since Tripp visited San Sebastian he's been bringing home these little silvery anchovies (boquerones in Spanish). At first I was skeptical but my oh my are they good. Bright and vinegary they're the perfect foil to smoky, nutty romesco. And anything you get to assemble with little utensils gets extra points in my book. Anchovies aren't your thing? Leave 'em off. This is a judgement free zone and even though I'm a fan I'll be the first to say they aren't necessary. The romesco is splendid all on its own. And when you tire of eating it on toast (or with a spoon) it's happy to do its thing on fish, meats, in a grilled cheese, on roasted or grilled veggies, on pasta - you name it.

The garlic probably interferes with this qualifying as a romantic Valentine's Day dish but whatves. It's red and involves smoke and fire so I'm pretty sure that counts for something.

Romesco Sauce |
Anchovy Toasts + Romesco |
Olives Mixta |
Italian Anchovies |
Anchovy Toasts + Romesco |

Anchovy Toasts + Romesco

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer


Makes about 2 cups


  • 1 cup unsalted raw almonds 
  • 3 red bell peppers (if you don't want to roast your own peppers you can substitute jarred, just be sure to drain them first)
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. olive oil


  • Roast peppers - if you have a gas stove you can roast the peppers right in your kitchen by placing them directly on the stovetop over a medium to high flame, one pepper per burner. Using metal tongs, turn frequently so peppers get nicely blackened and charred all around. The skin will sizzle and you'll see little sparks as it burns but don't worry the whole pepper won't catch fire. Continue until peppers are softened and blackened all over, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and place inside a paper bag. Seal the bag by folding the top over and let peppers sit for 10-15 minutes. This step makes the skin easier to remove. Once cool, use your hands to massage the skin off the peppers. It's okay if you don't get every bit. The blackened bits equal flavor! Cut off the end of each pepper with the stem and discard. Roughly chop peppers.
  • Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat until they become slightly browned and fragrant, about 4-6 minutes; let cool. Be careful not to burn otherwise you'll get bitter flavors in your romesco.
  • Place almonds in a food processor and grind until very fine, about 1 minute.
  • Add chopped peppers, sherry vinegar, garlic, paprika, and salt and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Sauce will be thick.
  • With motor running, add olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube.
  • Sauce is ready to serve immediately but for best results make a few hours in advance to allow flavors to develop.
  • Romesco will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week or several months in the freezer.


Anchovy Toasts


  • 1/4 lb. white anchovies cured in vinegar, at room temperature (I have not seen these at regular grocery stores but they can be found in speciality stores carrying Spanish or Italian products)
  • 1 baguette, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves
  • Romesco sauce, at room temperature


  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Slice baguette into 1/2 inch rounds and place on cookie sheet
  • Toast baguette slices until lightly browned and just firm, about 10 minutes
  • Cut garlic cloves in half and rub each toast with raw garlic
  • To serve slather each toast with romesco and top with anchovies

Sea Food

Slow Roasted Cod + Salsa Verde

Slow Roasted Cod |
Salsa Verde |

When I was in 7th grade my father fulfilled a lifelong dream of his - owning a seaside cottage on Cape Cod. It had window boxes, shag carpet, and an outdoor shower. 800 square feet of paradise. His timing though was a bit unfortunate. You see, this new addition to our family coincided with the precise moment in my life when hanging out at the mall food court became ineffably more appealing than a weekend at the beach. Can you imagine the torture? Perhaps due to my exasperation over these new arrangements, it was around the same time that I swore off sea food all together (fish sticks had been on my approved list). That first summer was a steady succession of chicken sandwiches, sampled at every mid-Cape fish fry and clam shack we visited.

Fortunately I have graduated from my regrettable middle-school attitude and my sea food aversion. The little cottage is no longer ours, but my parents now live on the Cape year round so I make the pilgrimage from Boston regularly. These days each visit is an occasion to make amends with the lobster, mussels, chowder, and oysters I neglected in my youth. Sweet absolution.

In honor of my grown-up palate and Massachusettts' most beloved fish, I wanted to share this cod recipe. Last January, Bon Appetit introduced me to this slow-roasted salmon with citrus, fennel, and chiles, praising the 'low and slow' baking technique. I've never looked back. It produces divine results with fish of every stripe.

Salt Packed Capers |

I prefer salt-packed capers to those in brine. The flavor is more herbal than vinegary, and they can live in the cupboard, freeing up valuable fridge real estate.

Slow Roasted Cod |
Slow Roasted Cod |


Slow Roasted Cod


Serves 2-3 (can easily be doubled or tripled)
  • 1 lb. fresh cod filet (Salmon or another white fish like halibut would make good substitutes.)
  • 1 Tbs. whole capers (If packed in salt, rinse well)
  • 1 Tbs. finely diced preserved lemon rind (Follow the link for instructions on making your own, or pick some up here.)
  • 1 red chile (The jar of preserved lemons we had included a beautiful mirasol pepper; we tossed it in since we like a little heat but it's not essential)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (This amount can be reduced. Really the fish should just be well coated. We like a heavy pour so we can dip bread in the warm, infused oil)


  • Place fish in a baking dish and salt; let sit for 30 minutes or so to come to room temperature
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  • Rinse capers and dice preserved lemon
  • Pour olive oil over fish and scatter with capers and preserved lemon
  • If using chile, place in baking dish
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until cooked through (when pierced with a fork or knife fish will flake and be opaque)
  • Top with salsa verde and serve immediately


Salsa Verde

Salsa verde is awesome on fish, and equally if not more awesome for bread dunking while you slow roast. This is Alice Water's recipe with orange zest swapped in for lemon. Both are great.


  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup chopped parsley

  • Zest of one orange (lemon zest is more traditional but we had an orange on hand)

  • 1 Tbs. capers, rinsed and finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  • Combine all ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes or more for flavors to come together
  • Taste for salt before serving; depending on your capers you may or may not need it