The Gentleman’s Relish – Make your own!
For all the lovers of Patum Peperium out there! Yes, I can show you how to make your own Gentleman’s Relish. Here is how I have managed to make this centuries-old delicious spread that goes on or into ANYTHING. From a humble piece of stale bread stolen from the ship’s galley to the most delicate of wafer thin Melba Toast. I even stuff Giant Green Spanish pitted olives with it, as well as adding a new dimension to Jamon Serrano. You can also toss it with pasta, spread on steak, or add to your Asian curries instead of Nam Pla น้ําปลา. Besides spreading it, there is just NO LIMIT with how you can cook with it! This is the original UMAMI!
But before we go on to the recipe, some notes on the exquisite and delectable anchovy. Here you can only use the best. Substituting it for cheaper brands, just won’t cut it. I recommend using the Ortiz brand from Spain. There is no alternative. You can get this only at the top delis/importers, or import it yourself. If you really have to, a quality Greek to Italian anchovy should be ok. Just NO Portuguese stuff. The stuff we get here is sub-standard. They say the Portuguese buy the rotten anchovies from tiny Moroccan fishing vessels with no refrigeration facilities before the processing and canning on Portuguese soil.
Also, the anchovy we use is the true Mediterranean species (Engraulis encrasicolus). If it comes from any other part of the world, it is not an anchovy. Not for our purposes anyway. I have yet to see the South African one (Engraulis capensis) in any form whatsoever but the Argentinian/Peruvian type(Engraulis anchoita/Engraulis ringens) are just horrible.
They are sold here at all the major retailers under the Mediterranean Delicacies label or re-labelled at Woolworths. DO NOT BUY THE WOOLWORTHS one, It is sub-standard, yucky AND the incorrect species. So to recap: Spanish is No.1, Greek is No.2, and Italians get third prize.
- 5-6 tins of anchovies (or 250g to 300g jars) drained VERY well
- 250g soft unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (not lemon)
- 1 tablespoon Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce. No other cheap imitation please.
- 1/2 a cup of FRESH white breadcrumbs. Just so-slightly dried.
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp Hot Paprika
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground mace
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp crushed dried garlic
The idea is to make a thick, smooth paste that is easy to spread.
Melt a large knob of the butter in a small saucepan.
When it is nice and hot fry the spices for around 30 seconds but DO NOT BURN the butter.
Cool it down
Now mix it in a blender with the anchovies, the remaining butter, and all the other ingredients till it’s a nice thick smooth homogenous paste.
Season to taste with a tiny bit of salt and pepper and blend again if needed
Use immediately on a nice piece of toast, and store the rest in a nice sealable jar/container in the refrigerator for not more than three weeks. I guarantee you it won’t last a week!
Always use at room temperature so take it out of the fridge for a while before you use it.
Posted by Phillip van Heerden
Image borrowed from Bidorbuy