Anchovy butter is currently on heavy rotation in my kitchen.

Able to be added to a repertoire of recipes, the umami appeal of bottled brown anchovy fillets are tempered with creamy butter and black pepper. Appealing to all the allium-lovers out there, I also like to add a crushed garlic clove into the mix, especially if the spread is destined as a baste for roast chicken or a simple sauce for griddled asparagus. In this case, its the former dish – and one of my ultimate favourite recipes – roast chicken that’s on the receiving end of this addictively delicious butter. A product of this past week’s wonderfully gloomy weather, the chook in question was basted simply in this combination of butter, garlic and anchovy, thus taking on a posh
surf n’ turf appeal.

While I’m usually all about a roast chicken with oodles of pan juices to mop up with crusty bread, this version doesn’t come with liquid but is rather best eaten at room temperature or gently warmed, making it the ideal filling for a sandwich. Not limited to roast chicken, my anchovy butter can also be enjoyed spread liberally over a slice of seeded sourdough and eaten with soft boiled egg or as a simple sauce for green veggies.

Anchovy Butter Roast Chicken

Prep time: 15 mins /Cook time: 1 hour /Serves: 4-6

You will need:

  • an organic chicken, about 1 – 1.5kgs
  • 250g salted butter at room temperature
  • 6 to 8 brown anchovy fillets, with about 2ml of their oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Coarse ground black pepper
  • 500ml dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Clean the chicken, pat it dry with paper towel and set aside. In a bowl, combine the butter, anchovy fillets and crushed garlic. Use a spoon to roughly mash the ingredients together and season with black pepper. Now it’s time to get messy – using your fingers, rub the anchovy butter all over the chicken. Loosen the skin over the breast and push butter into the pocket as this ensures a juicy roast. Keep a little of the anchovy butter aside to baste the chicken as it cooks.

Place the chicken on a griddle within a roasting dish and fill the base with wine. This aids in steaming the chicken while it cooks. Cover the top of the dish and the chicken with foil and roast at 220°C for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and turn the oven down to 180°C. Baste the chicken in more of the anchovy butter and return to the oven for a further 40 minutes, basting again after 20 minutes. When the chicken is ready, the skin should be golden and crispy.

As mentioned, I love this recipe as part of a sandwich but the chicken also works brilliantly as part of a soup or salad.





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