Burro e Alici - Sweet Butter and Anchovies

By • February 17, 2014 0 Comments

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Author Notes: This dish is simplicity in itself. Inspired by the Romagnoli's Meatless Cookbook (1976), it is one of the easiest and most spectacular antipasti ever, if you have top quality ingredients. To quote Franco and Margaret Romagnoli, " In Rome, when someone asks "How is it going?" the answer is "a burro e alicli" which means it couldn't be better, as smooth as sweet butter, yet flavorful enough to be interesting." That's what this dish is all about.

My adaptations are based on the specifics of the ingredients. Although I am mostly-vegan these days, this dish is one for which I make exceptions.


Serves 6 as an antipasto

  • 6 pieces salted anchovy fillets
  • 6 pieces thinly-sliced Portuguese white bread (not sweet)
  • 6 teaspoons unsalted butter, low moisture, best quality
  1. Select the anchovies, preferably Nettuno salted anchovies of Sicily from Gustiamo.com Rinse them in cool water to remove the caked-on salt. With a knife or fingernails, peel off the fillets and discard to guts and backbone of each anchovy. Rinse again, dry on paper towels, and moisten each with a little olive oil. You should have 12 fillets when done.
  2. Allow the butter to come to room temperature so it is easily spreadable on soft bread.
  3. Take 6 very fresh slices of Portuguese white bread, and spread a teaspoon of soft butter on each. Note that the original recipe called for a Tbs. of butter for each slice. Top each slice with 2 anchovy fillets.
  4. Serve with a glass of dry white wine, preferably Italian, perhaps a Soave or even a Coda di Volpe from Campania.

More Great Recipes: Appetizers|Fish & Seafood