The culinary delights of the anchovy.



When we went for our daily walk along the river’s edge I noticed a man sitting on a bench. Sitting on a bench in our neck of the woods is popular. Many of the Southern Highlands inhabitants are retired.  Shire’s planning department must have heeded some advice from a bright young person just out of the University having studied Social Comfort & Welfare. (SCW) She might well have suggested a liberal sprinkling of slatted bench seats throughout the municipality.

I don’t know who the sadist was who invented those concrete benches many years ago. Were the councils afraid of them getting stolen?  Soon after our arrival in 1956 my dad noticed bus stops with the concrete bench on which hardly anyone ever sat. Perhaps that was the aim. You know, the Anglo Saxon’s avoidance of too much comfort making you soft and girly-like! We, in Australia like to be seen as a nation of men and men.

This man looked sadly serious which seemed out of place. The morning was beautiful and the cockatoos gave it a helping hand by hanging upside down from the willow tree under which this serious solitary man was sitting on his wooden slatted bench. We are blessed with so many varieties of parrots. The orange, and green to yellow and even black and yellow feathered ones. They give the black crows a good lesson by chasing them as much as possible. I can never forgive crows for pecking out the eyes of just born lambs back on our days of farming. Why do they do that?

However, the man on the seat did not seem to care about the concert with acrobatics that the cockies were giving. Free of charge too. And if that was not enough, down at earth’s level there were the ducks. They too were in a good mood, just happily paddling about after surviving the night from the cruel red-beady eyed killer fox. Our neighbour lost his chickens for the third time. The foxes, like the crows, seem to take delight in senseless killing. Why chew off the heads of chickens and then just leave them flapping about on the laneway?

I wonder how many go through life without ever realising how much joy a simple anchovy can give. I don’t mean in an aquarium but more on a ceramic plate and cooked. We seem to cook more and more using those little fishes. For those that complain about their fishy pungency; what do you expect? A rose by any other name etc.? So, it is with oceanic life.  Each to their own identity and long live l’odeur l’anchvy.

Perhaps the man on the slatted bench has missed out on the anchovy. Perhaps he should have been told that when anchovies and garlic are chopped up with lots of fresh rosemary and then deep fried in blue smoky hot oil it makes fore one of the most tantalising sauces. Add and mix in some mustard and one is in heaven. Try it in a pasta. Flavour development in the ripening of anchovy (Engraulis encrasicholus) and used when mixed with other herbs is a bit like the art of winemaking.  There will be endless varieties and flavours. A truly amazing little fish.

I buy the little jars of anchovies from the local supermarket and might use about five or six of them with four of five cloves of juicy garlic and a heaped spoonful of fresh rosemary which grows in abundance in our garden. One can muck about with adding a little chilli and different mustards, fresh cream, coconut milk and much, much more.

Next time I see the sad man on the slatted seat I might introduce and give him an anchovy.

Do you think it would help?


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26 Responses to “The culinary delights of the anchovy.”

  1. Dorothy Brett Says:

    I agree Gerard, anchovies , plus whatever, well almost, make a lovely tasty pasta sauce. With a side or two of nice tasty wine, heaven.r

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I wanted to take some anchovies around to see if that man might like some. Helvi doesn’t want to walk with me if I have anchovies in my pocket, even though I would wrap them in glad wrap.


  2. bkpyett Says:

    You have certainly cheered me up, Gerard. Thanks for the anchovy recipe, sounds delicious. I’m sure that old man would be cheered if you take him your offering!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thank you Barbara, glad you are feeling cheerful. I might take the anchovies around in a foam esky because Helvi is not keen for me to take them around in my pocket even though they would be wrapped up.
    Heaven knows how many lonely people are around never having enjoyed a single anchovy. It would be such a burden.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jennypellett Says:

    Maybe he had indigestion from too much garlic?
    I agree, anchovies are the way forward. A delightfully versatile little fish.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. leggypeggy Says:

    Little jars of anchovies? I buy them in 750-gram jars. Anchovies are tops!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carrie Rubin Says:

    How I would love to sit on a bench with parrots fluttering around me. So pretty. But I’ll pass on the anchovies. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  7. stuartbramhall Says:

    My favorite pizza topping – pineapple and anchovy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Stuart.
      We often share a ‘Napoli’ pizza at the Imperial pub.
      It has toppings of small tomatoes, capers and lots of anchovies. They are very thin pizzas with a delicious thick crust around the edge.
      Combined with a large glass of dark ale and a chardonnay for Helvi it remains a favourite lunch dish when we feel like a bit of a nosh-up.


  8. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    These cute young things have never sat on a cold cement slat bench in the middle of winter. Wonder what happened to the lone bench sitter?
    The anchovy garlic mix sounded so good I bought a new pot of rosemary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, those concrete seats sure toughened one up. Rosemary is a nice herb and here it grows everywhere. The lone bench sitter has vanished. Perhaps he had a disagreement with his wife; (did he leave the lid off the pickles jar, or worse?)


  9. auntyuta Says:

    I usually walk to this seat in Lakelands Park.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. shoreacres Says:

    Oh, dear. I’ll have to pass, Gerard, No anchovies for me. I’m fond enough of fish and shellfish, and will eat an oyster raw, but the anchovies just don’t pass muster. I wasn’t traumatized by them as a child, or sickened by them in a restaurant. They’re just one of “those” things.

    I had feared that someone would mention the pineapple and anchovy pizza, and someone did. If anchovies are bad, that combination is ghastly. Thank goodness we’re all free to favor what we please in the food category: at least, once we get away from our parents’ table.

    Now, herring is another matter. I’ll eat pickled herring every day of the week and be happy. I don’t think anyone’s thought of putting herring on pizza, but with some nice cheese and some crackers, it’s wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The road to the acceptance of the anchovy can be arduous and long winded, Linda. But the triumph of overcoming the initial resistance is everlasting with the exultations lasting a lifetime.

      Most people recoil when the odour of this fish first strikes the nostrils. But, this is overcome by chopping the garlic and anchovies with whatever else (rosemary) and fried in a very hot oil. The mixture then has lost all of its fishy taste or smell.
      It is the inclusion of the anchovy in the sauce that is the magic. Some chemistry takes place.

      I have high hopes that you will overcome, Linda. You said you like the pickled herring. Goodness me, you are so close.
      Another favourite of mine are those bunches of small smoked baby eel. I haven’t seen them in Australia, but as a young boy back in Holland we often ate them
      I remember going to bed with a good book ( Jules Verne) and snacking on those little eels. Heavenly!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Oh, yes, I DO think it would help, Gerard!
    And you might make a new friend!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I am sure I will come across other people on slatted timber benches, Caroline. It always helps to strike up a conversation if I have Milo with me as well. For some people a dog is a circuit breaker for starting a talk or chat.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. auntyuta Says:

    ” . . . this is overcome by chopping the garlic and anchovies with whatever else (rosemary) and fried in a very hot oil. The mixture then has lost all of its fishy taste or smell. . . . ”

    The mixture then has lost all of its fishy taste or smell? It makes me wonder, that maybe, just maybe, I should give it a try?!! 🙂


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