I couldn’t decide what to call this. A ‘bake’, perhaps. It’s not a tart because it has no base, nor a pie, because it has no pastry. It’s not a Jansson’s temptation because it has onions and rosemary in it. In the end I just gave up and listed some ingredients.
There are layers of potato, sweet caramelised onions with garlic and rosemary and plump L’Escala anchovies, all melding together with the help of some cream. The top is burnished gold; all curled, crunchy edges and teasing chew. The inside is soft and slightly gooey; a little cream oozing out between the layers as you press with a fork.
We ate slices with a big green salad but it struck me that the dish would be a perfect accompaniment to steak. Literally perfect. As if there isn’t enough calories on the plate already. I lined the dish with butter too, by the way. No messing about. All the richness of potato with salty anchovy, rosemary and garlic – it’s screaming for a bone-in rib-eye.
Obviously you don’t need to use L’Escala anchovies for this, but do try to find the silvery fillets packed in jars, as those brown tinned ones will only disappoint.
Potato, caramelised onion and anchovy bake
You could use any size tin, as it’s just a case of layering. Mine was 22cm.
1 jar good quality anchovies packed in olive oil
6-8 large potatoes sliced as thinly as possible
2 large onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
142ml pot single cream
Butter, for greasing the dish
Salt and pepper
Begin by caramelising your onions. Heat the oil from the anchovy jar and add the onions, then sweat them down over a very low heat for about an hour, or until completely soft and caramelised. Add the garlic and rosemary for a few minutes at the end of cooking, stirring often.
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the dish well with butter.
To layer up the dish, begin with a layer of potatoes, overlapping them slightly. Follow this with a layer of anchovies (about 4 fillets), then a layer of onions. Spoon over a few tablespoons of cream, spreading it around as evenly as you can. Season with black pepper but be careful with salt as the anchovies are salty. If you do end up with those brown tinned fillets, don’t use any salt at all.
Repeat this until the dish is full. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crisp.