I love anchovies. I love their fishiness. I love the way they melt in a pan to become this wonderful not quite liquid flavoring for other foods. For me, anchovies are the secret behind that illusive fifth flavor - umami - in many dishes.
So, I appreciate the lesson Marcella offers on page 9.
As this project begins, I hope all of our readers will take the time to treat Fundamentals from page 7 through page 51 of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking like a textbook. Don't start following the recipes until you've studied the Fundamentals. Even the most practiced home cook will learn much. Even those of you who have a well worn copy of Essentials can benefit from going back to the beginning and actually studying the Fundamentals.
After all of that, right out of the gate, I had to go to Marcella's plan 'b' in order to prepare my very first challenge recipe.
I couldn't find salt packed anchovies anywhere. Not even at my old reliable Global Foods. They offered to try to order them for me. But their source was Roland. No offense to Roland, but their quality isn't the top of the line in most instances, and I didn't want to risk it.
So, plan 'b' according to Marcella is glass packed (so you can see the amount of meat), imported, and probably expensive.
Thank goodness, Viviano's had something better than Roland. Agostino Recca is a great brand. And at about $8.00 a jar, not cheap. But the anchovies were beautiful.
Now on to the peppers. I am sure there are very solid production and shipping cost arguments to justify it, but I have a very hard time swollowing a price of $2.00 each for peppers. Many things I will pick up in a store and not even make note of the price. Fennel for example. But for some reason the price of peppers just gets under my skin! I digress.
I roasted my pepper. First on a tray over the burners.
I didn't like the amount of time it was taking because of those silly holes. So, I took Marcella's advice and did what I should have from the start. I put the peppers directly in the flame.
Finally, I prepped the roasted peppers and gathered all of the ingredients to layer in my serving dish.
Two hours later, we enjoyed our "appetizer" with a crostini. We enjoyed it a lot. We enjoyed it so much that the four of us polished the entire dish off as a complete meal.