So You Want Anchovy Trove's Savory Secrets?
Plus, our guide to what's in greenmarkets these days (hint: not much!)
It's March, a month that's better than February in practice (it's closer to spring, which is closer to summer), but worse in theory. It's still too cold to enjoy being outside, any wisp of warmth comes with a catch (humidity), the days are dark, gray, boring and worst of all, the farmers’ markets are still just crates of huge, starchy root vegetables. Sure, there are things to do with all that stuff, and sure, it's our job to tell you those things (and we do damn good job of it below), but we won't pretend we're not impatiently awaiting the return of curly garlic scapes, fat, tie-dye tomatoes and most of all, the It Girl of alliums, the Bella Hadid of greenmarkets across the country: ramps. Along with a selection of recipes showcasing Sprinter (spring + winter)’s finest, we’ve got a very special menu from a very special guest: Trevor Joyce. Trevor is the cook behind Anchovy Trove, an awe-inspiring and aesthetically soothing Instagram account and one of our favorite food-filled newsletters here on good ol’ Substack. His supremely savory selections are ideal for any (or every) weekday (or night), but together they form a pretty perfect menu for a dinner party we’d frankly like to be invited to.
TREVOR JOYCE’S DINNER PLANS
Anchovy & Radish Toast: One of my favorite ways to eat is to slap something salty on a good piece of toast with a generous (okay, extremely generous) amount of butter. You could follow an intricate recipe for hours and still not come up with something as delicious as this. Grab some high-quality anchovies from your nearest gourmet market (I think the best are Ortiz) and some good bread — focaccia or sourdough are my preferences, but you can even use a humble supermarket baguette. Cut the bread into small, elongated slices and fry them until golden brown in some olive oil. Top those with a healthy schmear of butter — cultured butter works really well for this — and a single anchovy per slice. For some extra variety (or for vegetarian friends), you can thinly slice any kind of radish and use that instead of anchovies. It's an elegant and crowd-pleasing way to kick off a dinner party — or just dinner.
Chopped Kale Salad with Pistachios: This is adapted from a Barbuto classic and it's so good that it barely passes for a salad. If you've got vegetable skeptics at the table, this salty, crunchy, umami-laden dish is the best way I can think of to get some greens in the mix. The key here is to aggressively massage the kale so it gets nice and tender — you'll see a strange, neon-green liquid seeping from the kale as you squeeze, but don't fret as that liquid combines with the Roman-style dressing to create something truly magical.
The Crispiest Chicken Cutlets: If we're talking crowd-pleasers, this one tops the list. Whether you're hosting a party or just looking for a delicious weeknight dinner, a properly-fried chicken cutlet should be in your repertoire. This recipe is geared towards producing the crispiest possible cutlet, somewhere between an Italian Milanese and a Japanese chicken katsu, with a shattering panko crust that yields to tender meat — no limp breadcrumb coatings and dry interiors. The most important part is choosing your panko wisely; I always go for the brand JFC, which offers large-grained panko that crisps up beautifully. There are a few other crucial steps in the recipe, such as using semolina flour and firmly coating your cutlet. In addition to these, there is one optional piece of advice that I swear by: eat it with ketchup.
SO THIS LITTLE PIGGY WENT TO MARKET
Cabbage: Whoever did kale’s PR in 2012 must’ve taken on cabbage as a client this year because she is everywhere. From crunchy Tiktok salads to savory, caramelized pastas and creamy, dill-laden stews, the cheap cruciferous veg has landed in my cart on nearly every trip to the market. In this age of inflation, the price is right and the versatility is, too. Personally I can’t stop eating it via salads á la Melissa, especially when chopped as small as possible then scooped onto a salty chip, or just roasting it on high heat until ever so slightly charred and nutty. Next on my to-cook list? Okonomiyaki, made with AP flour until I can get my butt to the nearest Mitsuwa for the real stuff.
Radishes: I never liked radishes — they were always a little too peppery and sharp or worse, watery and tasteless. That was before I tried roasting them. If you’ve never tried roasting radishes, let me enlighten you; they go from crunchy, punchy bites to sweet, creamy-centered nuggets with just a slighty peppery aftertaste. Toss in oil, S & P, and whatever seasonings you like then roast for 25ish minutes at 400. Add in some turnips too, if you feel so inclined. We’ve now made them three consecutive weeks running, each time adding another bunch to our basket at the farmer’s market so we could have more. Or ignore me and do as Trevor does— sliced raw on good toast! Elegant indeed.
Fennel: We told you to roast your cabbage, then we told you to roast your radishes. Now, we’re telling you to roast your fennel. The gentlest drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of salt transforms slices of the crunchy veg into a sweet, creamy, charred treat. Nothing is wrong with raw fennel though; in fact, this light, crunchy, salty fennel and celery salad on the menu at Misi in Brooklyn is one of my favorite things to eat. It has paper thin slices of celery and fennel, shards of parmesan, and crunchy walnuts that I sometimes toast on the stove first. It’s perfect for serving with a cheesy pasta, mustardy pork tenderloin, or a loaf of crusty, chewy sourdough.
Citrus: One of my first brushes with baking came after watching Guy Fieri make tequila-spiked lime bars on Food Network. That recipe is delicious, but requires a small amount of very expensive pine nuts for reasons I don’t understand. A friend brought a batch of these margarita bars to one of my parties recently, though, and I slivered little pieces of the tart, boozy, pine-nut free bars all night — it’s my party and I’ll eat dessert however annoying and gross way I want to! Court, who is somehow still in Los Angeles, would tell you to use all of your in-season citrus in an over the top pavlova, using this recipe to make a meringue that’s perfectly crisp on the outside and gloriously plush and marshmallowy in the center. Covered in this key lime curd (plus extra zest) and topped with fanned blood orange slices, suprêmed grapefruit, spooned passionfruit, carefully placed slices of kumquats and segments of the tiny mandarins, it’s impossible to end up with anything other than a plate of utterly delicious edible sunshine.