Probably one of the most significant ingredients of all. Not only are they supremely good and highly prized in their own right, they are also very effective in enhancing the flavour of other ingredients.
From my studies of 18th-century cooking in England I know that a barrel of anchovies was indispensable in many kitchens to enliven all sorts of recipes. ‘But I don’t like anchovies,’ some of you are thinking. True, they are strong and gutsy – an acquired taste, you say – but they do grow on you.
So keep trying a little here and a little there until you acquire it, and don’t forget that most people who say they don’t like anchovies do like Worcestershire sauce, in which anchovies are the main ingredient.
This is also a great flavour-enhancer and is the British equivalent of the fish sauce of the Far East. As such, it can be used in oriental recipes when fish sauce is not available.
Tapenade, that strong gutsy pâté of minced olives, is converted into something more elegant and aristocratic if you replace half the amount of olives with sun-dried tomatoes. Serve it with ciabatta warm from the oven, or baked croutons brushed with o
This is a good family recipe and provides quite an interesting way of offering fish to children. Young-at-heart adults have also been known to sing its praises. You can use Greenland halibut or hoki instead of cod or haddock.
This recipe is delightfully different and makes a complete meal for two to three people with perhaps a simple green salad with a lemony dressing as an accompaniment.
Sandwiches are the ultimate quick snack but all too often can be a bit boring. Not so with this recipe, which combines creamy eggs, salty anchovies and the crunch of shallots, garnished with an olive!
Puttanesca has always been one of my favourite pasta sauces – strong and gutsy, with lots of flavour – then one inspired day I decided to try it on a pizza base instead. The result is brilliant.
The thing to remember here is that good-quality tinned salmon makes better fishcakes than fresh, so don't be tempted to cook some salmon just for this.
If you like lots of gutsy flavour in food, you'll like this recipe, which should be made with the very best olive oil and served with lots of fresh Parmesan.
Classic fishcakes are wonderfully frugal food, as they allow you to 'stretch' 1lb of fish to serve 4-6 people. And who's complaining with recipes as good as this, pepped up with the addition of capers, parsley and cayenne?
Just add bread to this lovely beany salad - a cheap and easy meal for very little money and proof that you don't need to spend a lot to eat royally.
Anchovies, capers, parsley and olives - plus garlicky mayo - give this bean salad plenty of punch. Chickpeas and haricots verts are a brilliant source of fibre and highly nutritious. Vegetarians could leave out the anchovies.