Recipe: Gentlemen’s Relish
Anchovy lovers will love this very old English recipe for a famous savory spread (anchovy butter, actually) invented in 1828 by John Osborn. The commercially available version of this highly seasoned spread is know as Patum Peperium. It’s a descendant of the ancient Roman condiment, garum, mentioned in what is believed to be the first written cookbook “Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome” by Marcus Gavius Apicius, a Roman gourmet and lover of luxury, who lived sometime in the 1st century AD, during the reign of Tiberius.
While the exact recipe of the commercial version of Gentlemen’s Relish is a guarded secret this recipe comes very close. To use it, spread a very thin layer on a slice of very good warm toasted bread as an appetizer. It’s an amazing addition to a pat of butter for frying eggs or added to any deviled egg recipe. There are several old English recipes that add a small amount to stews or as a spread for cucumber sandwiches and baked potatoes.
The finished recipe can be stored, closely covered in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks.
3 (50 g) cans anchovy fillets
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small food processor or mortar and pestle until smooth. Transfer to a ceramic or glass bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate till ready to use. Will keep for at least 2 weeks if kept tightly covered.