Master of new Anatolian cuisine and sustainable seafood crusader, Mehmet Gürs crafted this dish in front of a packed room during a Theatre of Taste event at Slow Fish last month. “I wanted to use anchovies and show how we can take what is normally the cheapest, most disregarded fish and create an elegant, refined dish,” he said.
Gürs has been involved in Slow Food Istanbul’s Don’t Let the Lüfer Go Extinct! Campaign to save a beloved local fish from overfishing and more recently in Greenpeace’s “How Big Is Yours” campaign, which is lobbying the Turkish government to establish minimum sizes for caught fish. He works tirelessly to promote responsible fish buying among consumers and his fellow chefs.
Gürs’ Anchovy Crisp with Olive Oil Bread is normally served as an appetizer with lemon foam and chives in his Istanbul restaurant Mikla. Recipe quantities can be adjusted to cater for smaller or larger groups.
Anchovy Crisps on Olive Oil Bread
Makes 20 pieces
300g all-purpose flour
15g fresh yeast
30ml extra virgin olive oil
8g sea salt
160ml warm water
20 fresh anchovies – cleaned with skin on and butterflied
25g clarified butter
To make olive oil bread
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Add yeast to warm water in a large bowl and mix well.
3. Add salt and 10ml of olive oil.
4. Sift flour in and mix until it forms a smooth dough.
5. Knead the dough on work surface until it is very smooth and silky.
6. Press the dough into a bread pan, 150mm deep.
7. Brush the top of the dough with remaining 20ml olive oil.
8. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
9. Bake for 40 minutes with the fan off.
10. Rest the bread overnight and the next day slice into 5mm slices.
11. Cut the bread slices diagonally into rectangles, around 9 x 5cm.
To assemble anchovy crisps
1. Place the prepared olive oil bread pieces on a tray lined with baking paper.
2. Season the anchovy fillets with sea salt and black pepper.
3. Flatten the anchovy fillets onto the bread skin-side down so that that they stick firmly, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 4 hours.
4. Melt butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat.
5. Add anchovy breads pieces to the ban and sear until the bread has a crispy texture and browned color. By this stage the fish will be well cooked.
Read more from the June edition of the international Slow Food newsletter here.