Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Garlic and Anchovies Make Me Happy

Garlic, Thyme, and Anchovy Baked Potatoes
Little things make me happy. Well, big things too, but today I am happy about little things. Like the fact that my chives are showing their pretty little tops out there. That the periwinkle is perking up, and that the ice is off the pond. That it is grill season. And soon, smoker season.

Up until a year ago I was afraid of the grill. Now I can't remember why, but it seemed dangerous. But after I convinced my husband that I absolutely had to have an outdoor smoker, it seemed silly that I didn't barbecue.

So I learned. In about 2 minutes. Easy as that. It occurred to me that I wasn't so much afraid of barbecuing as I was of turning it on. Once I got over that, I became queen of the Q. Oh yes, I even learned to turn it off after. Very important step, that.

Jamie Oliver uses coals to barbecue, and I would like to master that method soon too, but this recipe works fine on a gas grill or even on the bottom rack of your oven. Versatile, I like that.

Just be prepared for some divine smells emanating from your little packages of spuds - garlic, anchovies and thyme pack a serious flavour punch. And, oh yeah, don't forget the beer!

Garlic, Thyme, and Anchovy Baked Potatoes
adapted from Jamie Oliver,

Everyone loves a baked potato and this is one of the tastiest ways to make them. Slice, fill, then fit them back together.

• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
• 4 tablespoons butter, softened
• freshly ground black pepper
• sea salt
• 4 baking potatoes
• 8 anchovies (one tin)
a handful of fresh thyme sprigs, or generous pinch dried

Pound the garlic and butter in a pestle and mortar until smooth. Season the garlic butter well with lots of pepper but just a little salt as the anchovy or bacon will act as a seasoning too.

Cut each potato into slices. Coat the slices of each potato with the butter mix then reassemble each potato on a piece of double-thick foil. Cut the anchovies into strips and put between the slices. Do the same with the thyme sprigs and carefully wrap up the potatoes.

Lay the wrapped spuds on the cooler coals at the sides of the barbie for 1–1½ hours, depending on their size, turning every now and then, until tender. If you’ve got a gas barbie, put the potatoes right at the back over a low heat and give them plenty of time to cook. You might even want to give them half an hour’s headstart in the oven first.

*I just tossed the anchovies and thyme in the mortar and pestle near the end and gave them a quick, coarse mash. That took one step out of the process and gave me good anchovy coverage on my spuds.