ANCHOVY FENNEL TOASTS WITH ROASTED RED PEPPERS
Gourmet, August 2006
2 small red bell peppers (3/4 lb total)
2 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 9 flat anchovy fillets (from a 2-oz can), patted dry and minced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
24 (1/4-inch-thick) diagonal slices of baguette
an electric coffee/spice grinder or a mortar and pestle
Tips· Bell peppers can be roasted by broiling in a shallow baking pan 5 inches from heat, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes. · Anchovy butter can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Soften butter before using, about 1 hour. · Toasts, without bell peppers, can be made 2 hours ahead. Reheat, buttered sides up, under preheated broiler until hot, about 30 seconds, then top with bell peppers.
Step 1Roast bell peppers on racks of gas burners over high heat, turning with tongs, until skins are blackened, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, then let steam, covered, about 20 minutes.
Step 2When peppers are cool enough to handle, peel, then halve lengthwise, discarding stems and seeds. Cut peppers lengthwise into 3/4-inch-wide strips.
Step 3Toast fennel seeds in a dry small heavy skillet over moderately low heat, shaking skillet frequently, until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and cool. Finely grind fennel seeds in grinder, then stir into butter along with anchovies, lemon juice, and pepper until combined well.
Step 4Preheat broiler.
Step 5Broil baguette slices in a large shallow baking pan (18 by 12 inches) 3 to 4 inches from heat until golden, about 1 minute. Turn slices over and spread generously with anchovy butter. Broil toasts until butter is golden and bubbling, about 1 minute, then transfer to a platter. Top with bell pepper strips.