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“How could anything so simple be so good?” Russell Norman’s recipe for anchovies and butter

The man behind the brilliant new Brutto Trattoria butters our anchovies

Several years ago I was in Florence with a small group of chefs, restaurateurs and food writers. We were exploring the city’s historic trattorias, visiting the Central Market, sampling tripe and enjoying what the region’s classic cooking had to offer. It was around this time that the idea for my new London restaurant Trattoria Brutto came to me: a simple place serving Florentine dishes with uncompromising authenticity and honesty. My notebooks got fuller, more detailed and more annotated as the trip went on. It was a joyful voyage of discovery in the most famous Tuscan town and I was collecting as many ideas and recipes as I could.

One morning at the hotel in the Oltrarno district of Florence, directly south of the River Arno, I bumped into the veteran food writer Bill Knott in the breakfast room. He seemed particularly excited about the scheduled trip to the market but even more animated when he started to tell me about his favourite wine bar in the world, Casa del Vino, just in front of the market. Did I want to join him? He didn’t need to ask me twice.

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