Pane Burro e Acciughe (Bread Butter and Anchovies)

I don’t know about you, but when temperatures rise into triple-digits (on the Fahrenheit scale) as they have lately in much of the Northern Hemisphere, even my enthusiasm for cooking begins to lag. That, and our impeding house move, has meant that any cooking that I do indulge in these days is as quick as possible and, whenever possible, doesn’t involve the use of any heat source…

So here’s a quick note on a great non-recipe for times like these: anchovies and butter on bread. All you do is take some good, crusty bread, cut it into slices, slather a bit of fresh butter over each slice and top with one (or if you really like them, two) anchovy filets. Ecco fatto! <

Serve with some sprightly, crisp white wine that will stand up to the assertive flavor of the anchovies.


At the risk of sounding like a broken record, when it comes to a dish this simple, the quality of your ingredients really matter. Good, crusty bread with excellent crumb is very important. (NB: Bread like this can be hard to find in the US, so I like to lightly toast my bread, which helps give it better structure.) The butter should be fresh and unsalted—we get ours from a local dairy—and allowed to soften for just a few minutes; it should be neither rock hard nor too soft. And the better the anchovies, the better the dish, although regular supermarket canned anchovies packed in oil will do you fine.

The ‘genius’ of this dish lies in the contrast in flavor and texture as between the butter and the anchovies. The butter should be smooth and creamy and mild—it will balance out the assertiveness of the anchovies perfectly.

These are traditionally served as an antipasto or snack, but if you ask me, you can make a light meal of them if you want, just followed by a salad and some fresh fruit.

And for all of you who don’t care for anchovies, what can I say? I guess you’ll have to give this one a miss, but that’s really too bad. You’re missing a real treat.

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25 Responses to “Pane Burro e Acciughe (Bread Butter and Anchovies)”

  1. 23 August 2011 at 14:05 #

    the anchovy really deserves some serious appreciation! I love this, my father-in-law would always prepare these as an antipasto with some white wine, so delicious!

  2. 31 July 2011 at 18:36 #

    Thanks to one and all! Nice to see that a simple treat like this can still have such appeal. Trust you are all having a lovely summer. Stay cool!

    @PolaM: You're welcome! These little goodies really are additive, aren't they? ;=)

    @Roseanne: I'm going to keep you in suspense, for just a bit longer… ;=))

  3. 29 July 2011 at 16:33 #

    Since I've seen this post I had to have bread with anchovies at least 3 times…. Thanks for reminding me of this awesome treat!

  4. 29 July 2011 at 01:46 #

    MMM , it is easy and tasty sandwich , that I will not refuse to eat!Thanks for reminding me this quick and tasty meal!
    Removals UK

  5. 29 July 2011 at 00:58 #

    Yum! This looks so good!

    San Diego Catering

  6. 28 July 2011 at 15:04 #

    I used to think I didn't like anchovies, but luckily I have learned the error of my ways. This is perfect for this weather.

  7. Anonymous
    28 July 2011 at 12:01 #

    YUM! I love anchovies and have no idea why I've never even thought about anchovies on bread… Best of luck with the move!! kate @ kateiscooking

  8. 27 July 2011 at 08:50 #

    It's nice to know that you like this too. My mother used to buy salted anchovies, clean them and put them in a jar with olive oil and we would have them on buttered bread for dinner. One has to try it to understand the appeal. You don't sound like a broken record: you are absolutely right: this is all about very good ingredients. Good luck with the move.

  9. 27 July 2011 at 08:48 #

    hmmmmm. that's definitely DELICIOUS!!
    i also have one here guys. great recipes, yummy! check this out– > its the best! swear!

  10. 27 July 2011 at 08:28 #

    This looks like a great dish. :) I will try to make it by myself and I could only hope to become such a piece of culinary.
    Van Services for student moves

  11. 25 July 2011 at 20:23 #

    There is definitely genius in this, Frank.
    Good to hear things are cooling off in your part of the country.

  12. 25 July 2011 at 14:16 #


  13. 25 July 2011 at 08:37 #

    I never can get what people find so wrong with anchovies – especially when they also claim to love Caesar salad! I'll definitely be giving this a try though, because I adore simplicity and anchovies =)

  14. Anonymous
    25 July 2011 at 08:10 #

    Complimenti e' un piatto semplice, ma gustoso.
    Complimenti anche per il blog molto bello
    Se invece vuoi gustare un buon caffe' all'italiana passa da me

  15. 25 July 2011 at 07:47 #

    Pane, buro e alici, as they say in Rome :-)

  16. 25 July 2011 at 07:36 #

    Mmmm…anchovies!! Love this :)

  17. 25 July 2011 at 06:25 #

    I'm an anchovy lover, but never thought to have them this way – like you said, quality ingredients are key.

  18. 25 July 2011 at 03:44 #

    Yes, cooking is hard these days… And I love simple things like this, of course premium ingredients are essential in this case. Happy summer, Frank!

  19. 25 July 2011 at 02:02 #

    A great Italian classic, that I literally adore!

  20. 24 July 2011 at 23:07 #

    I completely agree with you – when there are few ingredient, they need to be quality to stand out. Sounds terrific….(I wish I wasn't allergic to anchovies)

  21. 24 July 2011 at 19:22 #

    Yesterday, 105F in the shade, I made a tomato salad with tomatoes from our garden. The crusty bread is a must to accompany this salad.

  22. 24 July 2011 at 16:01 #

    This sounds quite awesome! Actually I know it is awesome! Dinner tonight might be something like it…

  23. 24 July 2011 at 15:46 #

    Wow – this sounds my idea of heaven! I'd probably drink Fino or Manzanilla with it. One of my favourite tapas in my town here in Andalucia is a Finger of bread (with a particular texture of course!), topped with a wedge of local hard cheese and then crowned with a fabulous salted anchovy. Yum, yum

  24. 24 July 2011 at 15:36 #


    Tell us about the move!

    Where and When (and Why)!

  25. 24 July 2011 at 14:52 #

    Major YUM!! This is something I never would have thought of, but it sounds fantastic. I can just imagine the contrast of the anchovies and the creamy, unsalted butter. Wish I had some anchovies right now!

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