Leon’s Caper and Anchovy Miracle Sauce

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Despite releasing my recipes via this blog and my iPad® app rather than in print (thus far!), I’ve always been an unabashed cookbook hoarder.

The latest addition to my collection is Leon: Naturally Fast Food. Before picking up the book, I didn’t know anything about Leon — a small, award-winning chain of restaurants in the U.K. — but the quirky and charming book design and simple recipes made this purchase a no-brainer. 

Leon’s not a Paleo cookbook, but it contains a plethora of time-saving tips and most of the recipes can be tweaked to be Paleo-compliant. (Each recipe includes helpful information about whether it’s gluten-free or dairy-free.) The cookbook is broken up into two parts: the first half contains recipes that take less than 20 minutes to prepare, and the second half features “Slow Fast Food” dishes that you make in advance and eat when you’re harried. Brilliant. 

As I was flipping through the pages the other night, the Caper & Anchovy Miracle Sauce recipe caught my eye. I had all the ingredients in my pantry. Plus, I love making umami-laden sauces that can transform simply cooked meats and vegetables into “fancy” dishes. Don’t be scared off by the capers and anchovies — they add a tartness and brininess that can’t be replaced by anything else.

In fact, I ended up punching up the brightness in the sauce by increasing the amount of anchovies and lemon juice specified in the recipe, and adding fiery red pepper flakes to boot. I was hoping my jar of miracle sauce would last a week, but I’ve been spooning it on everything — hard boiled eggs, steamed veggies, chicken breasts, you name it — and I’m almost out. (By the way, the sauce thickens in the fridge, so warm it up before drizzling it on.)

Here’s what to gather to make a cup of my adaptation of Leon’s Miracle Sauce:

  • 12 anchovy fillets packed in olive oil (contents of a 2 ounce can)
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons capers 
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Juice from one small lemon
  • ¼ cup minced Italian parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper

Here’s what to do:

Peel back the lid of a can of anchovies.

Drain the oil from the fishies…

…and finely mince.

Place the minced anchovies and ½ cup of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Stir until the anchovies melt into the oil (about 3-5 minutes).

While the anchovies and oil are melding, finely chop the capers.

Remove the anchovy-infused oil from the heat and add the capers and red pepper flakes.

Then, pour in the remaining olive oil….

…and add the lemon juice. 

Give everything a good stir.

Toss in the chopped parsley…

…and season to taste with freshly ground pepper. No extra salt necessary!

Drizzle the sauce on anything that could use an oomph of flavor…

…and store the rest in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge for up to a week.

Miraculously easy, and tastier than the sum of its parts!