My Best-selling Dish – Parmesan custard with anchovy toast

20 February 2012
My Best-selling Dish – Parmesan custard with anchovy toast

What is it? Hors-d'oeuvre
Price £5
GP 71%
Orders 10%

The inspiration for this came from a crab custard dish that Rick Stein cooked for the Japanese ambassador about six years ago. I wanted to create a wobbly custard in a porcelain pot, rather like a similar dish I once made at my last restaurant, Kensington Place.

The custard is made using fresh eggs yolks, cream, milk, and 18-month matured Parmesan cheese, baked until set and sprinkled with an extra topping of cheese. A mixture of Sicilian anchovies and butter is spread between two pieces of thinly-sliced bread, which is then toasted and cut into fingers to make miniature anchovy butter sandwiches. These are served with the custard to create a double whammy of salt and savoury flavours - the reason for the dish's success.

It's so popular that we've never considered taking it off the menu - it's something of a signature dish, and is available all year round.

(Serves 8)
300ml single cream
300ml milk
100g finely grated Parmesan
4 egg yolks
Salt, pepper, cayenne
12 anchovy fillets
50g unsalted butter
8 very thin slices of pain de Champagne

Mix the cream, milk and all but a tablespoon of the cheese in a bowl and warm gently over a pan of boiling water until the cheese has melted. Allow to cool completely before whisking in the egg yolks, salt, finely milled white pepper and a little cayenne.

Lightly butter 8 x 80ml china moulds and pour in the mixture. Put the moulds in a pan of boiling water, cover with buttered paper and bake in the oven at 150e_SDgrC for 15 minutes or until the mixture has just set.

Mash the anchovies and butter to a smooth paste and spread over four of the slices of bread. Cover with the remaining bread and toast in a sandwich maker or panini machine. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the warm custard and brown gently under a hot grill. Cut the toasted anchovy sandwiches into little fingers and serve alongside the custard.
Rowley Leigh, chef-patron, Le Café Anglais, London

Recommended wine
With this dish I would go for a very classic wine, something that with age begins to take on flavours that can be similar to mature cheese, which has a lactic creamy character. So I would choose a Chablis that was at least five years old - a 2006 or a 2007. This would still have enough crisp acidity to match the salty anchovy flavour as well.
Ronan Sayburn, director of wine and spirits, Hotel du Vin

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking