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Bill Spohn

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RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Bill Spohn » Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:25 pm

I have on several occasions allowed as how I believe some foods, specifically in this case, zucchini, to be ‘filler’ foods that bulk out a dish without adding anything in the way of taste to them. I have opined that I have never had a dish with zucchini that wouldn’t have tasted just as good without zucchini – in other words such ‘bulking’ foods are functionally interchangeable.

I am here today to say that I have found another useful function for zukes – not taste, as they are basically a neutral carrier for other tasty items, but texture. It is a recipe with few ingredients and takes about 10 minutes from start to finish, and two people I told about it swore that it would be horrible. It wasn’t. This recipe is for two people and can be multiplied.

Take one medium zucchini for every two people. Cut off the ends. Set up a mandoline with the medium tooth serrated blade which makes long thin julienned strips. Run it through lengthwise so that you quickly reduce the zuke to a bowl full of threadlike strands, some with green peel on and some without (a straight sided zucchini works best for this and don’t forget to use the guard).

Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a pan and add 3 -4 anchovies. Heat on medium heat and use a spoon to break up the anchovies as much as possible as you do so. They will end up pretty much dissolving into the butter.

Pour the butter and anchovies over the zucchini strips in the bowl and add ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese and a half teaspoon red pepper flakes and toss. You don’t need to salt (anchovies) or pepper (pepper flakes) any further. Toss and serve.

The fresh uncooked zucchini strands offer excellent texture – a crisp feel and a crunch to the teeth, and the rest of the dish gives you all the umami, salt and spice you could want. It is very tasty and I daresay pretty healthy, too. And if you don’t tell people what is in it, they won’t have a knee-jerk reaction to the anchovies, which many will purport not to like.

Great side for a lunch or all on its own. Had it with a crisp Italian Fiano – good combo.
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Jenise

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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Jenise » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:03 pm

Sounds pretty good, Bill, though anchovies and I aren't the best of friends. They very easily taste fishy to me.

Hey but speaking of things like Alsatian onion tarts, had one the other night at Jules Bistro in Gastown where the onions were joined not by anchovies and gruyere, but bacon and blue cheese. AWESOME.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Bill Spohn

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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Bill Spohn » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:14 pm

Sounds like a riff on a Tarte Flambee - onions bacon and cheese, maybe creme fraiche as well. In any case, very good and right up my alley.
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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Jenise » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:18 pm

They did it well. In fact, it was the best thing we ate there.

And speaking of bread and meat, have you eaten at Bread and Meat? Our pre-lunch 'breakfast' was a shared porchetta sandwich there Friday morning. I thought the sandwich was a bit small, but it was nonetheless the best porchetta I've ever had.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Bill Spohn » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:35 pm

No, haven't been there - yet!
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Barb Downunder

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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Barb Downunder » Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:03 am

That sounds good, actually Bill. Make something tasty from zucchini, well done, no problem here with anchovies!
Any favourite brand?
Some foodies rave about Ortiz but the price has always made me gulp, so I generally use Cuca which I love. I just bought some Ortiz so will have a tasting soon, but can’t see them being four times better!
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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Bill Spohn » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:29 pm

For Jenise, who doesn't like to acknowledge that any fish were killed (or at least doesn't want to see identifiable bits of them) one could use anchovy paste - that gives the umami without people knowing where it came from. (Just kidding, Jenise - I know it is the fishiness that gets you but this recipe doesn't seem to have that issue).

As for anchovies themselves, I prefer the bottled larger jars that contain maybe two tins worth but can't recall the brand off hand.

Here is a good comparison test: http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/10/tast ... e-oil.html

They concluded that their tester's couldn't tell the difference between brands in sauces etc., but certainly could when eaten on their own.

Should I ever have left over anchovies, I use them up within a day or so of opening in our caesar salads.
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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Bill Spohn » Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:17 pm

BTW, does anyone use Thai fish sauce?

If you do, it is just anchovy, salt and sugar. A dash in many things elevates them without being obtrusive.
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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Jenise » Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:22 am

Sure, I'm guessing we all know that. But something about the fermentation process transforms the fishy character into something more enticing and integral than less-processed anchovies at a higher ratio.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Barb Downunder » Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:53 am

Love good Thai fish sauce, and by golly there are good and bad! Don’t know it’s name but my current favourite has a small child holding a large bottle on the front. Oh fish sauce in large font with Golden boy brand in tiny font under that. It is salty with a clean umami taste which like anchovies and Vegemite, judicious use adds that je ne sais quoi
And of course that ubiquitous English Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies.

Golden Boy

Anchovy 70%
Salt 29%
Sugar 1%
I’ve been told that the best fish sauce has the word nhi indicating high quality.
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Howie Hart

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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Howie Hart » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:42 am

I have this every March 19th (St. Joseph Day): Pasta con le Sarde (Pasta with Sardines)
My son bought a kitchen gadget that cuts zucchini into fine, coiled, spaghetti-like strips that he uses to substitute for pasta when he wants to reduce carbs. The original post made me think of it.
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.
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Bill Spohn

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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Bill Spohn » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:26 am

Barb Downunder wrote:Love good Thai fish sauce, and by golly there are good and bad! Don’t know it’s name but my current favourite has a small child holding a large bottle on the front. Oh fish sauce in large font with Golden boy brand in tiny font under that. It is salty with a clean umami taste which like anchovies and Vegemite, judicious use adds that je ne sais quoi.


Small world. Fish sauce has a use by date and I buy the smallest bottles so I'm always using fresh. Just picked up a bottle for a recipe I am doing in a week (Jenise will be able to report back). It is Golden Boy brand!
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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Bill Spohn » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:30 am

Howie - the pasta with sardines is exactly the same sort of dish (the fennel sounds like a good addition).

And I use a Benriner mandoline to do stuff like this. Comes with straight blade (great for shaving potatoes and such to exact thickness, as well as three different sized blades for cutting everything from carrot sticks to vermicelli thin.
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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Dale Williams » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:40 pm

I found my Benriner mandoline was invariably my choice over the much more expensive French mandoline we had, so we gave away latter.

I usually keep 2 fish sauces, Red Boat (Vietnamese) for when it is dominant or uncooked, 3 Crabs or Golden Boy for marinades, etc. Tiparos (not the knockoff like "Tip") is also quite inexpensive and reasonably good. Not a fan of Squid.
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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Jenise » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:38 pm

Dale, ditto on the Benrinner. Unless you're like a restaurant doing large quantities routinely, the big French mandolines make no sense--I owned one for about a month, and returned it.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: RCP - Zucchini and Anchovy (!)

by Bill Spohn » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:52 pm

PS:

We get lazy. We often have caesar salad and usually use anchovy paste to do the dressing.

I made the last couple of salads with the tinned anchovies left over from the zukes and anchovy, and it is sooooo much better that we made a commitment to using fresh only. Probably means we'll be having more salads (not a bad thing) but OTOH I'll often have things I can add them to that I wouln't have opened a tin for before.

Think I should look up my recipe for the anchoiade that I make as a spread for veg etc.

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