Last month John Lewis asked me to submit a recipe for their Delicious Magazine Hotpoint fridge competition which is now live; the brief was to create something that can be made with all the odds and ends you find in your fridge. With Vegan Month swiftly approaching, I made hasty use of the leftover anchovies swimming about in oil and the tub of cream that was near its souring date. A comforting bake of thinly sliced potatoes, softened onions and cream was perfect for the Autumnal weather; a sprinkling of dill throughout each layer gave it some fragrance.
It's fairly important to keep the slices of the potato thin, so that you get a nice layering effect. The anchovies dissolve into the cream to add a savoury yet not fishy tinge, and the softened onions some sweetness.
Serve this as the main dish - it's too tasty to be a side - with a tangle of salad leaves dressed in a mustardy dressing. You need something sharp to cut through the creaminess of the bake. If you haven't got dill to hand, chopped parsley or sprigs of thyme might work nicely too. I shall spend November revelling in the memory of how deliciously, waist-expandingly rich this was.
Potato, Onion & Anchovy Bake
4 medium floury potatos
2 white onions
12 anchovy fillets in oil
A handful of fresh dill
300ml double cream
2tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Slice the onions into half moon shapes and slowly fry in the oil with the sugar and vinegar in a non-stick pan. Meanwhile, slice the potatoes thinly, to the thickness of a 10p piece - a mandolin does this easiest, or a steady hand and a sharp knife.
Heat the milk and cream on the stove. Layer a casserole or pie dish with a layer of potato slices - some of them can overlap. Season generously with pepper and lay 3 anchovies evenly across the potatoes. Scatter with dill and place a quarter of the onions on top. Cover with some of the cream mixture and top with more potato slices and the rest of the onions and anchovies and the cream to create four or so layers in total, pressing them down as you go. The top layer should be potato slices. Dot with butter and place in the oven.
Bake for an hour, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Serve with a green salad.
To browse John Lewis' range of cookware and fridges, visit their website.
In case it wasn't obvious, I was paid a fee for this recipe.