anchovy oil

“She stared miserably at Olaf’s plate of food and found herself wishing she had bought poison at the market and put it in the puttanesca sauce.” -The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket 

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca 


  • 1 package of spaghetti
  • 4 or 5 fresh tomatoes, diced, or one can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • A handful of olives and capers, diced
  • 3 tablespoons (approx.) of olive oil
  • Parsley for garnish 
  • Salt, pepper, sugar, and red pepper flakes to taste
  • [optional] Anchovies 


  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water. When done, toss with olive oil.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, sauté the garlic¹ and anchovies in olive oil. 
  3. Once the garlic is browned, add the tomatoes to the pan. Reduce, a word which here means “thickening a liquid by cooking over a low heat.” If the sauce is too tart, add a pinch of sugar. 
  4. Add the olives and capers, and stir. Season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper to taste. 
  5. Spoon sauce over spaghetti. Serve with a sprig or two of parsley. 

¹To prevent the garlic from sticking to the knife, sprinkle each clove with salt before cutting. 


Okay, this is the REAL SPANISH FOOD! And not those things you can find around here.
Spanish traditional cousine is very variated, with dozens and dozens of traditional dishes and their variants acording with the region. Here is a little list of some of the most popular from different regions.

  1. -Andalusian gazpacho: a cold tomate soup with other many ingredients. Very usual in summer.
  2. -Boquerones en vinagre (fresh anchovies with vinegar and oil): a tipical tapa made with raw fish.
  3. -Bacalao al pil pil (Pil-pil Cod): a yummy cod dishe from Basque Country.
  4. -Caldeirada de cordero (lamb’s casserole): a very specied lamb’s stew with fried potatoes.
  5. -Cocido madrileño (Madrilian ‘boiled’ stew): the most popular of all “cocido” stews. It involves soup as first serve, vegetables&chickpeas and different meats, and other things you can use later for new dishes.
  6. -Callos a la madrileña: another traditional dishe from Madrid, made with cow’s guts, coldmeats, paprika…
  7. -Arroz con costra (crusted rice): a traditional dishe from Valencia region, kind of similar to “paella”, but coocked in the oven with egg (the crust).

So please, forget the “nachos”, “tacos”, “burritos” and other “tortillas”.


Tagliatelle with Baby Artichokes

serves 2 as a first plate

20 baby artichokes, cleaned, the larger ones halved

120 g dried tagliatelle

1 ½ lemons + more for cleaning

3 anchovies in oil, drained

1 T of the anchovy oil

1 small dried peperoncino/a pinch of dried red pepper flakes

1 T unsalted butter

1 small garlic clove, grated/pressed

2 T créme fraîche

extra virgin olive oil for serving


1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add salt + squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon. Add artichokes and boil until fork tender, 5-7 minutes.

2. Drain artichokes, reserving water. Bring the water back up to the boil, add salt if necessary, then add the pasta. Cook two minutes less than package instructions.

3. While the pasta cooks, In a large saucepan add the anchovies, anchovy oil, and peperoncino. Cook on a medium heat until anchovies have melted, then add the butter, garlic and finally the artichokes. When the pasta is a little more al dente than you’d like, add it to the saucepan with a ladle of the pasta water and the juice of half a lemon. Turn the flame to high, and mix until the sauce has thickened. 

4. Turn off the heat and stir in the créme fraîche. Taste for salt, add if necessary. Serve immediately with a drizzle of your finest extra virgin olive oil. 

You hated Spain

Spain frightened you. Spain
Where I felt at home. The blood-raw light,
The oiled anchovy faces, the African                
Black edges to everything, frightened you.
Your schooling had somehow neglected Spain.
The wrought-iron grille, death and the Arab drum.
You did not know the language, your soul was empty
Of the signs, and the welding light                
Made your blood shrivel. Bosch
Held out a spidery hand and you took it
Timidly, a bobby-sox American.
You saw right down to the Goya funeral grin
And recognized it, and recoiled                    
As your poems winced into chill, as your panic
Clutched back towards college America.
So we sat as tourists at the bullfight
Watching bewildered bulls awkwardly butchered,
Seeing the grey-faced matador, at the barrier            
Just below us, straightening his bent sword
And vomiting with fear. And the horn
That hid itself inside the blowfly belly
Of the toppled picador punctured
What was waiting for you. Spain                
Was the land of your dreams: the dust-red cadaver
You dared not wake with, the puckering amputations
No literature course had glamorized.
The juju land behind your African lips.
Spain was what you tried to wake up from            
And could not. I see you, in moonlight,
Walking the empty wharf at Alicante
Like a soul waiting for the ferry,
A new soul, still not understanding,
Thinking it is still your honeymoon                
In the happy world, with your whole life waiting,
Happy, and all your poems still to be found.

–Ted Hughes, Birthday Letters, 1998