I know anchovies are not to everyone’s taste. I’m not going to advocate sitting down to plate piled high with the tiny fish, but don’t write them off completely. There are not many other ingredients that pack such a pungent punch. Salty, fishy, and weirdly earthy, anchovies offer a lot of flavor dimensions. They are often unidentifiable in a final dish when used sparingly. I use them in soups, melting them into some oil before sauteing vegetables, for a backbone of flavor, and no on is the wiser.
This dish, however, does not showcase the subtlety of anchovies. Against the mild beans and crispy celery, the anchovy shines. Without them, the dish downgrades to plain old blah. Mincing the little fish make them more palatable to anchovy virgins as it breaks down the tiny bones and renders the fish visually unrecognizable. Serve this on small plates as part of a tapas dinner or as a speedy side dish to steaks fresh off the grill. While you’re at it, whip up some anchovy butter for those steaks and make the meal an anchovy celebration!
Amounts below serve 2 as a side dish or 4 as part of a tapas dinner. Double or triple at will for a larger crowd.
(1) 15.5 ounce can butter beans (also sometimes labeled large limas), drained and rinsed well
(1) Stalk celery, chopped finely
(4) oil-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed well and finely minced
(1/2) Tablespoon good quality olive oil
(1/2) Tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.