20 November, 2010


Boniet is an Italian "spread" (for lack of a better word) made up from parsley and anchovies and garlic, finely chopped together.  It's kind of like a pesto, I guess, but without the strong and heady basil flavor.  

It's used most frequently as an appetizer, spread on crusty bread or on freshly sliced tomatoes.  I like it with small fresh mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, assorted olives, and thinly sliced red onion.  I make small, single-serving salads in little glass bowls, arranged around a central dollop of boniet that diners can use as they please.

Like many other Italian "family" recipes, there are probably a million ways to make boniet.  They all start with parsley, anchovies, garlic, and olive oil, but from there it seems that everyone has their own variations.  My family's version calls for a touch of basil and a little bit of tomato paste.


1 large bunch of parsley, leaves only
4 cloves garlic
12 non-pareil capers
2 or 3 sweet basil leaves
2 ounces anchovies (1 small can), drained (reserve the oil.)
1½ tablespoons tomato paste
Using a Chinese chef's knife
to chop the ingredients finely.
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Pick all the leaves off of the parsley and discard the stems.  Chop the parsley, garlic, capers, basil, adn anchovies together until the mixture is an homogenous paste. Stir in the reserved oil from the anchovies, the tomato paste, and the vinegar.  Store in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to meld.

Allow boniet to come to room temperature before using.  Spread on toast, or use as a dressing on tomatoes, eggs, and salad or use like pesto on pasta or pizza.

Boniet really does make an awesome pizza sauce.  Spread your pizza dough with some boniet, then add cooked, sliced boneless/skinless chicken breast, slices of fresh mozzarella, and a generous sprinkling of grated smoked provolone cheese.

Buon appetito!


Michele Hays said...

David, this is a really interesting alternative to pesto...I'm wondering if the rehydrating technique that I use for the Food Desert project would work, here. I think because it has capers in it, it might be a possibility...hmmm...(good to sauce gnocchi, too, I bet)

Dave said...

Hey, Dave ... are the anchovies used those little, extremely salty, eyebrow-looking fishies? Or, are they something more reasonable? I like anchovies (sardines, too) just not the extra-salty suckers that most use.

Michelle said...

Hey Dave,
just wanted to let you know I'm watching Martha cook with Todd English (for the record I can't stand either of them but I'm trying to be open-minded and there's nothing else on) and he brought a can of One-Pie canned pumpkin to cook with :)

Dave said...

Dave - Yes, use a 2-ounce tin of the salted anchovies in the recipe. By the time you get the other ingredients into the batch, the salt isn't overpowering, it's just another seasoning.

Mag said...

Hi Dave,
I'd love to make this but I've never cooked with anchovies before. When bought in the can do they come de-boned?