Yes, yes, I know–another dish from The Barcelona Cookbook. What can I say–I like to get the most out of what’s on our cookbook shelves, and this book has delighted and intrigued us with every recipe we’ve tried in the months we’ve had it, so it shouldn’t be all that surprising that we’re cooking our way through it.
Besides: now that it’s officially winter and we have nearly half a foot of snow outside our window, anything that conjures up images of warmer climates is a very, very good thing. It’s fortunate our apartment is so warm, because I know I’ll be dying to lay about in our living room eating tapas this winter in little else but a skirt and a t-shirt and pretending I’m in Torremonlinos come February (if not sooner), all while listening to the Vicky Cristina Barcelona soundtrack.
This particular dish piqued my interest on Sunday morning when flipping through the book because it reminded me of our first meal in Spain. Hungry after napping for an hour or two, we ambled our way down to our hotel’s lobby and saw that a tapas spread was set out, so we helped ourselves to some cheese, bread, fish, and other goodies and sipped on some wine. It was here I had my first experience with the humble anchovy: laid over an open roll and sprinkled with some olive oil.
I was hooked.
We were fortunate to have an anchovy connection through Romeo when we lived in New Haven, but until this past week we had not been able to find anything besides the canned/jarred stuff here in the city. That’s fine for pizzas and to mash up in pasta dishes, but when you want to eat an anchovy, you need the really good stuff. Happily, Fairway ‘s extensive preserved/smoked fish section at the Broadway location more than delivered on what we were looking for, further cementing it as the grocery store of my wildest fantasies come to life.
There’s not much to this dish: roasted red peppers are sliced thinly and left to marinate with the fish for at least two hours, and everything is topped with a mixture of 2 scallions sliced thinly, 1 tablespoon of oil, 2 garlic cloves also sliced thinly, and smoked paprika, all served on toasted bread. It’s like a bruschetta topping, but in exchange for the delicate tomato and basil, you’re given a combination of ingredients that to me, at least, is Spain on a slice of bread.
Needless to say, I’ll definitely be eating this again during the winter (the summer too!) when I’m craving a light-but-substantial appetizer that will immediately make me feel like I’m sitting in a quiet cafe that overlooks the Mediterranean.