This simple appetizer is inspired by a very similar dish I had sitting outside at the Spanish restaurant – B44 on Beldon Lane in San Francisco. It is shown in this photo with a Negroni cocktail, which is how I like to enjoy this dish as a starter before a meal.
Once the ingredients are in hand, there is next to no preparation involved. The star of this dish is the white anchovies, or Boquerones. These are much more delicate and fresher tasting that their canned counterparts. I get white anchovies at the San Francisco Fish Company located in the Ferry Building. Only a handful is needed. Other ingredients include Manchego cheese, a tart apple, lemon juice and a good quality olive oil.
Manchego is an aged sheep’s milk cheese from Spain. Other aged cheeses could be substituted. Pecorino Romano, also a sheep’s milk cheese, is an obvious substitute though I might be tempted to try a young Gruyere or aged Gouda (both from cow’s milk).
Any apple could be used, but a tart Granny Smith offers the right balance in my view. I use an extra virgin, Arbequina olive oil from California when I can.
Assembly is straightforward. A thin slice of apple is placed on the plate followed by a smaller slice of cheese. Three or four white anchovies are arranged on top and the appetizer is dressed with a small amount of fresh squeezed lemon, olive oil and coarsely ground black pepper.
- 1 Granny Smith apple, or other tart variety, sliced into thin rounds
- 2 slices of Manchego cheese (slices should be slightly smaller than the apple rounds)
- 6 to 8 white anchovy filets
- Juice of ½ lemon
- High quality extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh, coarsely ground black pepper
- Two to three sprigs flat leaf parsley to garnish
- Place sliced apple on the plate followed by a slice of cheese on top.
- Arrange 3 to 4 anchovy filets on top of the sliced apple and cheese
- Dress with a ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- Add coarsely ground black pepper, garnish with parsley and serve.