Montados de Anchoas: Salt-Cured Anchovies and Eggplant on Toast

August 9, 2018 5:01 pm Last Updated: August 9, 2018 8:00 pm

Montados de Anchoas: Salt-Cured Anchovies and Eggplant on Toast

In northern Spain, anchovies are often salt-cured and preserved in olive oil, resulting in mild and meaty fillets. Look for our favorite Don Bocarte anchovies from Cantabria to use in this recipe. In this pairing, the smoky creaminess of eggplant blackened over fire is the perfect counterpoint to the savory anchovies. Tangy labneh consummates that marriage beautifully in this summery two-bite montado. Since you’ve got the grill going anyway, toast the bread on the grate for an extra bit of smokiness.

Makes 6
Prep 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes

  • 1 Japanese eggplant, or small ordinary eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 6 Olive Oil Toasts
  • 6 teaspoons labneh
  • 12 salt-cured anchovies
  • 12 basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground
  • Black pepper

Heat a charcoal grill to high. Alternatively you can use a burner on a gas range, turned to high, with a rack placed over it.

Set the eggplant on the grate over the hot flame. Cook, turning occasionally, until the skin is really black all around and the flesh is bubbling and collapsed, about 8–12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.

When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, discard the top, then peel off the skin. Cut the flesh in half crosswise, then cut each half into thirds lengthwise.

Transfer to a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with the oil and vinegar. Gently mix, keeping the pieces intact.

For each montado, spread 1 teaspoon labneh on the toast, then arrange 1 eggplant piece and 2 anchovies on top. Top with a couple of basil leaves and serve immediately.

Montados: Olive Oil Toasts

Every night, the cobblestoned streets of the Basque culinary capital, San Sebastián, fill with hungry people on a slow crawl from tapas bar to tapas bar. The counters in those bars are piled high with montados, small toasts topped with every imaginable ingredient. Built to tempt patrons into having just one more drink, these colorful toasts are easy to make and essential to your tapas spread. Montados are incredibly versatile and it’s fun to come up with interesting combinations in your own kitchen. Even your grandma’s potato salad can become a tapa when served on our bite-sized olive oil toasts and dusted with some smoky pimentón. You don’t need a lot to compile a provocative pairing. Just get a balance of salty, creamy, and bright. All our montados start with toasts. They’re incredibly easy to make and can be prepared up to a few hours ahead of time. As long as you start with good bread (it can even be day-old), you’ll end up with good toasts.

Serves as many as you like

  • 1 or more baguettes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

Cut a baguette into 1/2-inch slices and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle lightly with salt and drizzle with the oil.

Bake until golden brown and crisp around the edges but still soft in the centers, about 3 minutes. Don’t overbake them or they’ll end up tough.

You can use the toasts immediately or cool them to warm or room temperature.

From “Boqueria: A Cookbook, From Barcelona to New York” by Marc Vidal & Yann de Rochefort with Zack Bezunartea. Used by permission of Bloomsbury/Absolute Press.