Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Smoked garlic and anchovy butter

Garlic – I love it and can't bear the idea of not having any handy in the kitchen. Not only does it transform dishes, but it's good for you, too, being high in Vitamin C and with properties that may help prevent heart disease and certain forms of cancer. As it's also antibacterial, it's useful for fighting colds so, as winter sets in, a warming bowl of vegetable soup, seasoned with some garlic, ginger and citrus juice will do you more good (and will certainly taste better) than the odd mug of Lemsip (which often makes me feel worse – vile stuff). You could even go the whole hog and have garlic soup.

Recently in Swanage I bought some gorgeous oak smoked garlic from The Purbeck Deli. This mouthwatering shop likes to focus on local produce and the garlic came from the Isle of Wight, which, on a bright day you can see across the water from this magnificent stretch of the Jurassic Coast. Back in London some of it was included (whole cloves with skins on) in a chicken roast, but ideally I wanted to preserve it in some way. It's such a rare treat. I decided that the best way to do this was to make a garlic and anchovy butter which could be tucked away in the freezer for using to dress up steak or vegetables. It's ideal for the busy Christmas period when you might need to conjure up an impromptu supper with friends or want spoil yourself with something a bit special. This 'cheffy' detail – despite being incredibly easy – can put a dish into another league.

In a food processor blitz a pack of unsalted butter with the peeled cloves from a head of smoked garlic. Once smooth and creamy, add two tins of drained anchovies and continue blending. Finally season to taste with lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sea sea salt (I use Maldon). Turn out, roll into a log shape and wrap generously with clingfilm. You might need to leave it in the fridge to firm up, supported on each side. Freeze and, when required, unwrap one end and slice with a hot knife (you can warm it up in a jug of boiled water – don't try to use a knife straight from the drawer as it won't pass through the hard, frozen butter). Absolutely delicious.

No comments:

Post a Comment