Anchovy toast…

A simple lunch of sourdough, cheese and anchovies…

Working from home, in the back of blessed beyond, means there is nowhere I can just ‘pop’ to to buy a sandwich or salad for lunch. Making something edible out of the nothing that is usually in our fridge is therefore a daily challenge. This brilliant recipe which I found a while back, (courtesy of the wonderful Jack Monroe and printed first here, and reprinted below), is a clever combination of recipes from Mrs Beeton and Ossie Gray, and is my go-to lunch as long as I have cheese, bread and anchovies in the house (which is pretty much all the time).

It takes minutes to make, but is hearty enough for a cold day and, served with green salad or tomatoes, fresh enough for a warm day. And, of course, it’s brilliantly affordable.


Jack Monroe’s Savoury Anchovy Toasts

(Serves 2, or 1 if you’re hungry)

  • 6 anchovies, fresh or in brine, the choice is yours
  • 4 slices good white bread
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 120ml milk
  • A lump of hard strong cheese
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Parsley, to garnish

First make the cheese sauce. Gently melt the butter in a small saucepan on a very low heat, and whisk in the flour with a fork to form a smooth paste.

Add a splash of milk and mix well, and keep adding gradually, mixing all the time to stop lumps and clumps from forming. If you get lumps, pop a sieve over a bowl and pour the mixture through to separate the lumps from the liquid. Tip the lumps back into the pan with a smattering of flour to re-combine, add a little more butter, and start adding the liquid back in gradually. Things rarely go so wrong that they aren’t redeemable.

Grate in the cheese, add the cayenne, give it all a stir and remove from the heat to settle and thicken.

Meanwhile, toast your bread until golden. Smear the cheese sauce on both pieces, add a smattering of chopped parsley, pop your anchovies in, and voila. The sloppy sauce is part of the appeal for me, but you can firm the whole experience up with extra cheese, if you like. / @DrJackMonroe


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