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British Bites: Gentlemen's Relish

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[Photograph: Sydney Oland]

This classic condiment is a type of seasoned anchovy butter that is also known as Patum Peperium. The strong anchovy flavor is complemented by cayenne pepper and ground nutmeg, and fresh lemon juice cuts through both the butter and the anchovy to add just a little lightness to this intense compound butter. It may not be the prettiest thing that has ever come out of your kitchen, but as a quick snack on toast with sliced cucumbers, or an interesting condiment for baked potatoes, this humble butter will surely work its way into many of your favorite dishes.

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One of my favorite things about this relish is how many different ways you can use it. For those of us who love anchovies, a simple tea sandwich made with this relish and watercress is heaven with some tea. But for those who aren't big fans of the hairy little fish, it still makes a great tool in your culinary arsenal. Using this to top a perfect grilled steak, or to sauté a few potatoes, adds that little bit of extra flavor that can elevate a simple dish into something to serve to your guests.

Making this relish is as simple as turning on your food processor, but if you don't have one, you can make it just as easily with a wooden spoon, a big bowl, and a few minutes.

About the author: Sydney Oland lives in Somerville, Mass. Find more information at sydneyoland.com (or read eatingnosetotail.com)

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