Dear Tastebuds: Duck and Cover

Just so we're all clear, I can be a bit of a braggart. I love to proclaim loudly to whoever will listen that I grew up eating just about anything that was placed in front of me. This is mostly true. But there have been a few hold-outs in my life. It took me a fairly solid two decades to appreciate a runny yolk, a tuna fish sandwich, and now, the star of today's show: anchovies.

I have ALWAYS wanted to like anchovies. When, as they will in any reputable establishment, a server asked if I'd like anchovies in my Caesar salad, I'd always boldly say yes. And, without fail, I'd end up pushing the leathery little monsters around my plate like refugees. Fishy is still a flavor profile that I'm working on having the utmost enthusiasm for. Let's just say that Anchovy Canapes I made me feel particularly enthusiastic.

The anchovies in this particular canape are buffered by the incredible, nuclear-looking pimiento butter above, which I threatened to put on everything from pancakes to my toothbrush. Let's just say, it is really easy to forget that it is 90% butter.

Here's the thing about Anchovy Canapes I: they're mostly butter. The bread rounds, which you fry in butter, are then spread with anchovy butter, studded with oily, funky anchovies, pickled onions and dotted with a rosette of screaming orange pimiento butter. This is like putting a small amount of homemade plastic explosive in your mouth and biting down - in the best way. Did I say yet that these are actually quite good? Proceed with caution. Or reckless, delicious abandon.

Anchovy Canapes I
Spread anchovy butter on rounds of fried bread and on the outside edge arrange a border of the smallest-sized pearl onions*. Set a curled anchovy in the center and in the center of the anchovy pipe a rosette of green or of red butter, using pastry bag and tube. 

Anchovy Butter
Blend two tablespoons of butter and one-half teaspoon of anchovy paste. 

Pimiento Butter
Wash two or three bright red pimientos and dry thoroughly. As pimientos contain a large percentage of water, after draining squeeze them dry in cheesecloth and then rub through a fine sieve. Add them to one fourth cup of creamed butter with salt and lemon juice to season, and if wishing more color add one-half teaspoon of paprika. The color will be intensified if the paprika is moistened slightly with a dash of white wine. A little sifted egg yolk added to this butter makes the mixture easier to handle.**

* Because I am this way, I ended up pickling my own pearl onions in some sherry vinegar, brown sugar and spices. 
** I didn't add any paprika, wine or egg yolk. Don't make yourself crazy.

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