I think that my world changed when I first tried marinated white anchovies. If you think they taste like their canned cousins, then think again. They're fresher, and less pungent, and they have a wonderfully soft texture. In Spain, they're known as boquerones, and they're extremely popular as part of a tapas spread.
Seeing as they're so pretty to look at–the little filets are silver and white–I wanted to feature them in a way that really showed them off. Today, I paired the anchovies with roasted red peppers, marinated in sugar and vinegar, and added a creamy line of homemade aioli alongside. (I make a lot of crostini–in the past two years I've posted on sardines, chard, and a puttanesca-inspired bruscetta–and so it seemed like a natural way to go.)
The best part about these is that they can and should be served at room temperature, and every element can be made several hours ahead of time.
Crostini with marinated anchovies (boquerones), red pepper and aioli
a baguette, sliced very, very thinly on the diagonal, about 15-20 slices
15-20 white anchovies
marinated red bell pepper slices (recipe follows)
aioli (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the bread slices very lightly with olive oil, place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes until browned and crisp. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the slices to cool.
Fill a plastic ziploc bag with aioli and cut a 1/8 inch piece from the corner of the bag to create a small hole. Pipe the aioli onto the bread slices. Beside it, place an anchovy and a slice of red bell pepper. Serve.
Marinated red bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
On the grill, under the broiler or directly on the burner of a gas stove, char the pepper all over until it's entirely blackened. Place it in a brown paper bag and fold the top closed. Let the pepper steam for at least 10 minutes before peeling.
Peel the bell pepper using the back of a knife (don't rinse the pepper to remove the skin) and slice it into 1/4 inch strips.
Place the pepper strips in a small bowl with the remaining ingredients and allow them to marinate for at least an hour.
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
small garlic clove, minced or grated
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup neutral oil, such as canola
Whisk together the egg yolk, salt, mustard, garlic and cayenne in a small bowl. Place the oils in a liquid measuring cup with a spout. Whisking constantly, begin pouring the oil into the egg mixture drop by drop in a very thin stream until it begins to emulsify. Continue until all of the oil has been incorporated and the aioli has thickened. Season again with salt to taste, if necessary.