- Twenty anchovies
- three garlic cloves
- two handfuls of parsley
- a handful basil leaves
- a red spagnolino
- two hard boiled egg yolks
- olive oil
- two tablespoons of vinegar
What to prepare
- a chopping board
- a crescent-shaped chopping knife
- a big bowl
- a small serving dish
Take some big anchovies out of the pickled juice and clean them from the salt, then mince them taking out the fish bone. Prepare a sauce on the side by finely blending parsley, garlic, basil leaves, spagnolino, the hard boiled egg yolks and mix together with olive oil and vinegar.
Put the cleaned anchovies in a serving dish and cover them with the sauce; then make another layer of anchovies and so on until you finished all the sauce.
This is a very simple hors d’oeuvre, I should say of humble origins, having no possibilities of adulteration since it is so easy to make, yet so tasty and fragrant. It reminds us of the old bonds between the Langhe and Liguria regions, which was the salt road that winds on the top of the hills.
A route that still today is so captivating for the great variety of the surroundings that are so different on the two sides.
An natural environment which changes as the seasons vary in particular on the hills of the Langa region that are both so beautiful, showing a strong contrast in its unmelted white snow, while on the Ligurian side springtime is wakening with all the lively colors of the new season.
In autumn our region becomes bright red because of the leaves that still dangle on the grapevines that have just been harvested. In the olden days people used to mostly transport wine, oil, salt and anchovies from the Liguria region, taking it to the market every Saturday in Alba, under the church tower of the cathedral.
In people’s homes anchovies were kept in bowls which were a little bigger than normal, covered with oil (the precious oil) and preserved in the “erca”; every once in a while an anchovy could be eaten bones and all with a slice of bread to make it last longer. But if it was the day for polenta the fragrance was enjoyed slowly!
Times of the past, long gone times, a mist of memories! Now time for nouvelle cuisine has come, but all of us want to remain faithful, even if no one feels “old”, to the healthy plainness of our traditions.