Roasting a bird with Anchovies on it – part deux

I roasted a fowl using anchovies instead of salt.

Given it was an experiment, and just me at home, I didn’t want to do something large like a turkey. So I bought an organic cornish hen over at Whitehouse Meats at the St. Lawrence Market. It was only 1-1/4 lbs, so I wouldn’t be wasting a lot of food if it turned out horrible.

Rinsed the bird, did the wing fold over so they don’t flop, and placed it on its back, so it would be breast side up. Peeled and halved an onion, and stuffed it in the cavity. Opened a can of Spanish anchovies that I had at home that were wrapped around capers. They were harder in texture than most anchovies I’ve bought in the past. Still, I spread a few of them across the bird’s breast and nestled some of the capers in places like the leg joints.  Not a whole lot of fat on the bird, so I used a bit of olive oil.

Basted a few times while it was cooking (I gave it 1 hour and 15 at just below 350F), and gradually the anchovies softened, and I smashed them around a little.

While it was resting, I microwaved some kale I had washed and torn into bite-sized pieces. Gave it a light sprinkling of sesame oil, tossed, and put them both on the dinner plate.

Verdict? I really enjoyed the taste. It wasn’t overly fishy, but the anchovies provided some of that “umami” feel that makes food really mouth satisfying. I’ll definitely do it again, and next time, I might smear some truffle paste on it, too!

Addendum: last week I did a 1.5kg organic chicken the same way. I needed to start basting earlier than I did, because the anchovy fillets didn’t break down as much. But it was still very tasty.

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