Pane, Burro, e Acciughe (Bread, Butter, and Anchovies)
Bread, butter, and anchovies – three ingredients that go together perfectly, much like the way basil, tomato, and spaghetti go together in spaghetti al Pomodoro or mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and basil come together in a Caprese salad. The combination of salty anchovies and creamy, buttery fat spread across each slice of crusty bread comes together in a way that was simply meant to be.
Pane, burro, e acciughe is one of the dishes that Italians always have at their ready in case unexpected company – or hunger – suddenly strikes. With just three simple ingredients and virtually zero cooking effort, you can throw together this dish as a satisfying snack or appetizer. And because there is no actual cooking involved, pane, burro, e acciughe is an ideal summertime dish – just the kind of thing you might serve on those blisteringly hot days when you can't bear to even go near a stove.
While it's nearly impossible to mess up this dish, there is one important thing to remember: there are only three ingredients in this dish, so each one counts. Choose a freshly baked, rustic loaf of bread with a hard outer crust and soft interior. As for the butter, we suggest cultured. Similar to yogurt, cultured butter contains live active bacteria giving it a tangier taste. Make sure the butter is unsalted (the anchovies will bring plenty of salt) and that you bring it to room temperature before serving so that it spreads easily on the bread.
Last but not least, the anchovies. This final ingredient is really all a matter of opinion. Marinated anchovies will have a slightly less intense "anchovy" taste and have a brighter flavor, especially if they are marinated in some form of acid (think: vinegar or lemon juice). On the other hand, anchovies that have been preserved in olive oil and salt will have a stronger taste and more intense salinity. Choose your favorite and you can't go wrong!
Yield: 4 servings
1 loaf rustic Italian bread, sliced
8 tablespoons butter, unsalted and at room temperature
1 (2-ounce) tin anchovies in extra virgin olive oil
Cut the rustic bread into thick slices.
On each slice, spread two tablespoons of room temperature butter and top with one or two anchovy fillets.