Peckham Bazaar's Asparagus & Anchovy Salad
"Greek food is more than simply a trip to the supermarket.
It’s a series of small rituals involving the bottle of olive oil from your uncle’s grove, fresh cheese that your mother would have brought last week whilst taking away the one brought a fortnight ago which she would then turn into little fritters she would gleefully bring round on her next visit whilst castigating your wasteful ways.
It’s harvesting wild asparagus for such a brief period of time that it barely lasts a full lunar cycle. You must never take all you find for there is always someone else coming after you who shouldn’t go empty-handed.
It’s your clumsy attempt at making your own marinated anchovies long forgotten in a jar topped with olive oil. Self-sufficiency would have to wait-said your wife after trying them, causing your ears to turn red like crimson sails ready for battle.
And finally the trip to the supermarket for some potatoes and eggs if you truly messed up and missed your beloved weekly “laiki”, the farmers market which, to my heretical Albanian mind, has come to replace in both affection and devotion of many modern Greeks, the Sunday mass.
Or if you live in London, you could go to Spa Terminus market and let the Maltby&Greek team enact the various parts like true pros."
The amounts below serve six persons or three hungry Greeks
1 kg new potatoes or Jersey Royals
1 head of garlic
1 tbsp butter
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch English Asparagus
6 fresh eggs at room temperature
1 jar Trikalinos marinated anchovies
1 banana shallot
Freshly ground pepper
2 fresh lemons
Get a large pot with a tight fitting lid, add the butter, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 cup of water, a pinch of salt, 6 turns of the pepper mill and put over moderate heat till the butter has melted. Set aside.
Peel the garlic cloves, and peel the new potatoes cutting the larger ones in two to make them all even-sized.
Add the potatoes and garlic to the pot with the melted butter, place it over moderate heat and cover it with the lid. When the water is fully evaporated and the fat begins to sizzle, turn off the heat and leave the lid slightly ajar.
Bring another large pot with salted water to a rolling boil. Trim and snap the woody parts from the asparagus ends.
Prepare a dish of cold water to refresh the asparagus. Put the asparagus in the boiling water for 1 minute and a half, take out and refresh in cold water.
Drain. Let the water continue boiling and gently drop the eggs in and proceed to cook for 7 minutes exactly. Refresh the cold water and keep on stand-by. When the time is up, fish out the eggs and cool them in cold water. You should be able to peel them after a few minutes. I find that throwing them back in the water will help wash off any remaining egg shell.
Cut the asparagus diagonally, peel the shallot and, using a mandolin, slice into thin rounds.
In a large bowl mix together the warm potatoes and garlic, the asparagus, gently interlacing the salad with fillets of your drained anchovies. Season generously with fleur-de-sel, lemon juice and freshly ground pepper. Add the eggs, which should be still soft and runny, on top and drizzle the salad with the remaining olive oil.
-John Gionleka, Peckham Bazaar
Suggested wine pairings:
When matching wine with food we also have to think about the weight of the dish and the cooking method.
Asparagus on its own, with its subtle and persistent aromas, is divine with our Sauvignon Blanc from Amyndeon and all fresh medium body white wines.
John's recipe creates a richness and roundness with the potatoes (which love quite high alcohol). The anchovies add pungency and boiled eggs demand fruit in abundance. A hearty meal with balanced richness, matches perfectly with full-bodied white wines.
Pick Aidani from Santorini if you like a bone dry style with a maritime aromatic profile.
If you like the roundness and fruit side of the dish go for Vidiano from Crete.
Avoid full-bodied red wines, with anchovies in particular.