These anchovy butter and sesame crostini are packed with umami flavour and the perfect accompaniment to drinks with friends. Make them in less than 20 minutes start to finish.
Anchovy is a really polarizing flavour. It's briny, salty, almost astringent with a burst of sea and umami. People seem to either love or hate anchovy.
I absolutely love the flavour and find it especially good when combined with rich butter and a crunchy carb.
Anchovies. You either love 'em, or you hate 'em, right? WRONG. In my experience, everybody loves anchovies—it's just that some people don't know they do. Taste Test: The Best Anchovy Fillets seriouseats.com
I've been whipping up these anchovy butter crostini for years. There's so much to love about them. They're quick, salty, crunchy, rich, and packed with a ton of flavour.
So when we had some friends over last weekend for our weekly 'stay sane during quarantine' hangout - and I realized I hadn't planned for a starter - it was anchovy butter to the rescue.
I happened to have half a loaf of bread lying around because earlier in the week I made the super easy basically hands-free bread recipe from Recipe Tin Eats. Highly recommend if you're looking for a super easy bread recipe.
You can also use a store bought baguette, ciabatta or other French or Italian style bread.
Slice the bread thinly and lay out on a baking sheet, ideally on a grill rack like I have in the picture above.
How to make anchovy butter
Making anchovy butter couldn't be easier - you just mash together anchovies and butter.
What kind of butter
Unsalted butter is ideal because then you can add more anchovy and get more flavour. If all you have is salted then that's okay too. I've made these a bunch of times with salted butter and they still pack a lot of flavour.
What kind of anchovies
Your standard salt cured and oil preserved whole anchovy fillets are best. You usually find them in small jars or tins in the grocery store, often in the Italian aisle if you have one.
This Serious Eats taste test lays out all the different types, and also warns against using anchovy paste. I've never used anchovy paste so I can't comment but if you can get your hands on whole fillets then that's ideal.
How many anchovies to use
Since anchovies are quite salty I generally only add up to 7 filets per ½ cup of unsalted butter. Your best bet is to start with a couple, mash them into the butter and taste. Continue adding anchovies until it's salty enough to serve as a spread.
Assembling the Anchovy Butter & Sesame Crostini
Assembling is simple. Give each crostini a good swipe of the anchovy butter. Spread it on in an even layer and then sprinkle with sesame seeds. The sesame seeds are optional but they add a nice crunchy element.
If you're entertaining (yourself or others ?), you could also mix it up like I did and do some anchovy butter and sesame crostini mixed with other cheesy garlic crostini.
The cheesy garlic crostini are also really simple - just grated hard cheese (probably a mix of asiago and aged gouda in this case), dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and sumac.
Bake the crostini
Bake at 190 C / 375 F for 12 - 15 minutes or until golden.
Serve the crostini
The crostini are great on their own with a side of wine or your favourite drink. They are the world's most luxe bar snack - perfect for grazing while you chat up a storm.
If you want to add a little more substance you can serve them with a salad and make it a meal. My lovely friend happened to bring one of her famous salads last weekend so we put the two together and it was a perfect match.
Anchovy Butter & Sesame Crostini
- ½ baguette sliced thinly
- ½ cup butter
- 5 salt-cured oil-packed anchovy fillets
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 190 C / 375 F and prepare a baking sheet ideally with a grill.
- Use a fork or a mortar and pestle to mash together the anchovy with the butter. Start with one or two anchovy fillets and add more, tasting as you go.
- Spread the anchovy butter on the bread slices.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until golden.
- Serve as is or with a nice salad.