Breakfast #48: Eggs in Anchovy-Butter

I have a cousin who needs to travel a lot for work.  Many times all around Europe.  He will try to make you think that it is tiring and oh-what-a-drudgery flying hither and thither is, but I know better.  The fantastic meals of which he partakes and the gastro-bounty he brings back tell another tale.  Since he is a grumbler by nature his bah-humbugs are a common refrain that is easy for me to ignore…especially when he drops little treasures my way (lardo, pancetta, and guanciale…oh my!).

One such wondrous dish he had (in Milan if you were wondering), whose photo is still emblazoned in my memory, was a small silver pot cradling eggs cooked in butter and bottarga.  Just three ingredients but the idea of it, especially for someone like me who already thinks eggs are sublime on their own, was making me lose sleep.

Bottarga here comes at quite a pretty price tag though, and I am never sure just how fresh those vacuum sealed packs are.  So, what is a girl to do?


Eggs in Anchovy-Butter
  • 1 ½ -2 tablespoons butter (this depends on how decadent you are feeling – I would err on the side of generous)
  • 1 – 1 ½ fillets of anchovy, chopped
  • 2 eggs, the best you can find and afford
- Melt the butter in a small non-stick skillet (ideally one that a good snug fit for the eggs).  Wait until the butter froths and the froth then subsides.
- Add the anchovy.  It will spit and sputter like mad so be ready and stand back!  Lift the pan off the fire for a bit if things get too wild.  Using a non-slotted, flat turner smash the anchovy up, smashing and swirling until the butter turns a rusty bronze.
- Add the egg to the anchovy butter.  As soon as the whites set a bit swirl the pan around and with the turner swish and flick the anchovy butter onto the top of the egg.
- As soon as the egg is done to your liking (I recommend a runny yolk…always) slide the egg and anchovy butter onto a shallow bowl.  Enjoy immediately!

Ok.  Bottarga-butter-eggs purist: don’t get your knickers in a knot.  I am not claiming that this has anywhere near the soul-transforming powers that the original dish has.  And it certainly isn't as pretty.  I'm proud of my little ghetto version nevertheless.  Though it may not be near the realm of the original bottarga + silver pot version, it has a gritty decadence all its own.  Everything you need can be bought in any supermarket…even the small cheapy non-stick skillet!

I like to eat this in a shallow bowl, immediately puncturing the egg yolks and eating the mess half-spooned, half-sopped up, with a good slice of bread.  If you live in the Philippines I have to add that this is amazing with a piece (or two) of hot pan de sal.  Use as much butter as you feel is decent to have in one meal…if that meal is breakfast then you are totally justified using as much as you want (you are starting your day after all).  I have indicated 1 – 1 ½ fillets of anchovy here but this really depends on your anchovies and your own taste…you can always add more if you’d like it to be saltier.

I must go pack now as we are off this weekend, leaving in an hour.  Not any place fancy, no silver pots or fancy meals, but good food nonetheless and even better company.  And the beach, and a boat – those are nice too :)  Wishing you a great weekend, a happy Halloween, and fabulous breakfasts - ghetto or otherwise!