This recipe for asparagus with anchovy butter and Parmesan is a very simple but utterly delicious dish from the cookbook Polpo and is a must-do recipe if you are a fan of asparagus and anchovies like I am. Russell Norman’s iconic cookbook makes me want to immediately dive into the kitchen and make everything between the covers. It was the source of inspiration for my epic food pilgrimage to Venice 3 years ago and part of the reason I fell so in love with the city. I’ve eaten a very memorable meal at the tho Soho restaurant in London and its where I bought my copy of the book.

I tweaked the method slightly and instead of adding the butter at the end, I added it when I put the asparagus in the oven and loved the melted salty sauce it made to dip the spears into.

Recipe – serves 2 – 4 as a side (adapted from Polpo)


Aparagus with anchovy butter & Parmesan

A delicious & simple recipe for asparagus with anchovy butter and Parmesan from Polpo – The cookbook.

  • Author: Sam


75g butter

6 anchovy fillets

1/2 small garlic clove or 1/4 of a bigger one, crushed

3 basil leaves

pinch of dried chilli flakes

20 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed off

grated Parmesan Cheese – enough to cover the spears (about 20gm)


Preheat the oven to 160C

To make the anchovy butter put all the ingredients except the asparagus and Parmesan into a small blender and process until smooth.

Blanch the asparagus spears for about 3 minutes and then place on a small oven tray and dot with the anchovy butter. Roast for about 3 minutes then arranges on a serving plate. Pour over the melted butter from the roasting dish and grate over the Parmesan cheese. Serve warm with bread to mop the sauce up.

Keywords: asparagus, anchovy, butter, Parmesan cheese, easy, recipe, Polpo, Russell Norman, Cookbook, Venice

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