To survive summer without cooking (indoors, anyway), I rely on good cheese, homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers, and my newest secret weapon–a purchased ingredient possessing magical properties of deliciousness. Useful in tiny amounts, delicious alone or on a cracker, intensely flavorful, and tasty straight out of the refrigerator….ladies and gentlemen, I present the white anchovy (or, if you prefer the Spanish name, the boquerone). The small fillets of pure, tangy flavor perk up almost anything in need of a savory lift. In contrast to its darker, salt- or oil-packed cousin, the white anchovy possess a citrusy refinement, perfect in lighter fare or paired with sweeter flavors. In the picture above, garden cherry tomatoes & Kirby cucumbers dressed with red wine vinegar, fresh basil, coarse black pepper, and sea salt are accompanied by a few boquerones, coarsely broken into small bits. The anchovy’s sparkle transforms an ordinary summer salad into something infinitely more complex.
I’ve taken to eating a few, lined up on a plate, as an impromptu appetizer. (Much better tasting than a fish-oil capsule any day). Pick up some at St. James Cheese Company on Prytania Street…and start adding zip and zing to uncooked summer dishes.