Anchovy toast with fried duck egg

Mitch Tonks runs RockFish Grill & Seafood Market in Clifton, Bristol. He is an award-winning chef, restaurateur and food writer and has two other seafood restaurants in Dartmouth.

With sustainable fishing top of the agenda, flavour columnist and seafood specialist Mitch Tonks cooks up a storm with his seasonal fish of choice…

Now meals on toast are a great British tradition; good old favourites like cheese or beans or sardines on toast are just timeless. One of the things that has changed over the years is the quality of the bread.

The 1960s saw the introduction of mechanical bread processing and while this meant huge price drops and mass availability of a food staple it has also been at great cost to our digestive systems, never mind our taste buds! Fortunately artisan bakers like my friend Richard Bertinet have been of fundamental importance in the return to our lives of great bread and bread-making processes. In the south west we are spoilt with good bread bakers: think Hobbs House, think Thoughtful Bread and so many more. This recipe is a true delight with each part of the simple fare being essential to the whole. So I urge you to bake some homemade bread or buy from a really good local baker and you won’t go wrong.

Anchovy butter is so versatile. Once made, it can be stored in the freezer, melted, and finished with a handful of parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice; it is an instant sauce for just about any fish.

Ingredients, serves 2

  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • Small clove of garlic
  • Small sprig of rosemary
  • Sea salt
  • 50g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 slices good quality bread
  • 2 duck eggs
  • Vegetable oil for frying.


  1. Make the anchovy butter using a pestle and mortar to crush the anchovies, garlic and rosemary together. Make sure you have a pulp. The addition of salt will help break it down but go easy as you have anchovies!
  2. Add this mixture to the softened butter and a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce – go careful on this, as you don’t want it to overwhelm.
  3. Cut a nice big wedge of white or brown bread, whichever you prefer, and toast it well. Fry the duck eggs to your liking. Spread with the soft anchovy butter, so that it melts into the toast, then top it off with a soft-fried duck egg.

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