Potato & anchovy bake

Traditional recipes for this hearty dish use pickled sprats, but anchovies are really delicious and far more widely available. Don’t be put off by the large quantity of anchovies – their flavour is readily absorbed by the potatoes and cream

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Serves: 6


1.2 kg floury potatoes, eg King Edwards
100g jar anchovies in olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
300ml double cream
150ml milk
50g butter
50g breadcrumbs
Watercress or baby leaf salad, to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Grease a large, shallow baking dish. Very thinly slice the potatoes, then cut across into fine chips. They should be almost matchstick sized, but don’t worry if they end up chunkier.

2. Pour the oil from the anchovies into a large frying pan and gently fry the onions over a medium heat for 5 minutes to soften. Chop the anchovies into small pieces and mix with the onions. Using a slotted spoon, put the onion mixture into a bowl. Return the pan to the heat. Add the potatoes and turn in the oil left in the pan for 5 minutes. You may need to add a little extra oil.

3. Spread a quarter of the potatoes over the base of the baking dish. Spoon half the onion mixture on top, then another quarter of the potatoes. Layer the remaining onion mixture on top, then finally the rest of the potatoes. Combine the cream and milk with a little salt and black pepper, then pour into the dish.

4. Melt the butter and mix with the breadcrumbs. Scatter them over the surface of the potatoes. Bake for about 1 hour until the potatoes are tender and the breadcrumbs are golden. Leave to stand for a few minutes before serving with a watercress or baby leaf salad.