Tri-tip Steaks with Anchovy Caper Butter

July 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Beef, Bread | 40 Comments
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Every time I look at this photo, it reminds me of a billboard we saw somewhere in the middle of Kansas along I-70 advertising steak at a restaurant called Montana Mike’s. It’s simply a ridiculously huge closeup shot of steak that fills the entire billboard. We LOL’d and thought it looked like Kansas’s had invented the Red Cliffs of Dover rather than offering up a good steak. Of course when you’re in the middle of Kansas on I-70 you’re easily amused.

What’s all the fuss about anchovies? 

Have you ever noticed that when a good food conversation seems to be winding down, all you have to do is mention a recipe that includes anchovies and like gasoline on a fire, everyone is roaring about their distaste of anchovies? Have you ever noticed that when you decide to order pizza for the office that in unison everyone screams “ANYTHING BUT ANCHOVIES!!!” 

Don’t get me wrong, you won’t find me sitting around eating them straight from the can, but a little added to a Caesar Dressing is divine, and added to this butter to melt over grilled steak is delicious. Plus the cat went wild over the unused anchovies in the can. What’s your favorite recipe with anchovies?

Served with a simple salad of baby greens and a vinaigrette, this was a great little summer meal. And don’t hesitate to try this easy butter, it elevates the meal from ordinary to elegant.  No excuses, c’mon it’s only got one little itty bitty anchovy for Pete’s sake. Let’s take a look.

Tri-tip Steaks With Anchovy Caper Butter (adapted from Fine Cooking)

  • 1 anchovy filet, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. chopped garlic
  • Kosher Salt
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into three pieces
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. capers, drained, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2, 6 – 8 oz. tri-tip steak

Mash the anchovy fillet into a paste on a cutting board with the side of a chef’s knife. Sprinkle the garlic with a pinch of kosher salt and mash it into a paste.

Put the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave it on high in 10-second bursts until it just begins to melt. Mash the butter with a fork and stir in the anchovy, garlic, parsley, capers, lemon zest, and a few grinds of black pepper.

Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat. Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper. Sear the steaks on all sides until a meat thermometer reads 120°F for rare or 125°F for medium rare, 8 to 10 minutes total. Serve each steak topped with a dollop of the butter.

Tri-Tip Steaks with Anchovy Caper Butter…It’s What’s for Dinner.



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  1. I’m going on record here. I LOVE anchovies. I could eat them from a can, a jar, on a pizza, in dressing. My wife loves them too, but yesterday I overdid it and well … anyway this looks fabulous. Love the capers too.

    • The capers are wonderful in this butter Greg. Yum.

  2. I love anchovies too!

    • Thank you Pam. 🙂

  3. I love anchovies and I won’t apologize for it. This sounds wonderful!!!

    • Thanks Russ. I hope you get the chance to see that ridiculous billboard. Being an artist and designer, I do believe you’d get a kick out of it.

  4. Well. . . I love you Lea Ann, but I’m just not a fan of anchovies. Your tri-tip looks fantastic and I would love it with just a little plain butter. As for the anchovy butter, I’ll just have to take your word for it.

    • Karen, I knew you chime in! C’mon one little itty bitty anchovy? 🙂

  5. Love your anchovy butter on that yummy looking steak Lea Ann. I use anchovies quite often actually. I like the Italian whole ones packed in a glass jar in oil, but I keep a tube of paste in the refrig to use when I’m in a hurry. They are so subtle if you don’t over-use them. I use them in Caesar salads dressings, add them to melted butter for lobster, a dash in tartar sauces, chicken liver spread, etc. Since you like to use anchovies, here’s a quote from Mario Batali in his cookbook “Molto Italiano” that will put your mind to ease – “As for people who claim to dislike anchovies, do not feel the obligation to disclose their presence.”

    • I’ll have to look for the Italian anchovies in a jar and I’ve never used the paste. Would like to try keeping some of that around also. Love the idea of the butter for lobster and tartar. Love the Batali quote.

  6. I don’t know about the billboard, but your close up looks outstanding and this is a must try recipe. I have some tri tip in the freezer, but so little experience with them I hadn’t considered carving into steaks. As for anchovies, I’m in the minority as I rate Caesar dressings poorly if I can’t taste the anchovies and my favorite way to eat them is to cut up 3 or 4 and put on my Italian or Greek salad.

    • Thanks Larry. I really like cooking tri-tip roasts and when I saw that Costco had sliced some into steaks I had to buy them. They are about 2 inches wide and about 8 inches long. They grill up nicely. I also read that some markets will label them as sirloin tips. I always have a supply of them in the freezer. I’m picky about my Caesar salads too. Gotta have that taste of anchovy. Greek salad idea. The cat may not be getting any leftovers next time.

  7. This is fantastic…I MUUUUST try it! I love anchovies, they add such a wonderful, understated rich and salty taste…and enhance other flavors. Serious mouthwatering going on over here.

    • Thanks Heather. 🙂

  8. LOL – I LOVE anchovies and will eat them straight out of a can. I jumped at this recipe when you emailed it a few weeks ago. Dana was raving about that butter and I almost didn’t tell him about the anchovie . . . but since he’s in the “other camp,” I couldn’t resist. He blanched at first and then went back to eating it because it’s crazy good. He has decided that he does like them in some things after all. I like this recipe so much it’s on the menu for the wedding as a side for the tenderloin. I’ll probably keep the ingredients to myself unless asked. 😉

    • I didn’t realize you had made it. We really liked the recipe. Funny about Dana. 🙂 How fun that I contributed to the festivities for the wedding! How many people?

      • Fourteen – which is small for a wedding, but plenty for a garden party/wedding/feast! I’ve been having a blast getting service for 14 together. 🙂 Thank goodness it’s casual shabby chic. 😉

      • Casual shabby chic is the best. 🙂

  9. The anchovy caper butter lured me in. Love ’em in salsas, on pizza, on salad, etc. Thanks for sharing.

    • Andrea, I’ve never thought to put them in Salsas.

  10. I’ve actually caved in and got anchovy paste for a recipe we did a while back and guess what. I did NOT die!

    I could see using this with any kind of beef roast or steaks.

    • Too funny Chris!

    • That’s great Chris! Maybe someday when you are bigger, you’ll have a real anchovy!
      That paste is a handy thing to have around for a quick Caesar dressing tho.

      I’m going on record here, along with all the other anchovy lovers and say, I love me the anchovies and capers combo. One of my favorite pizza toppings is a 1/3 of anchovy filet with a few capers stuck to it. A couple of those on each slice, and wow!

      We will be trying this steak and butter recipe. Thanks Lea Ann!

      • Thanks for taking the time to comment Brian, always good hearing from you. I’m loving that pizza idea.

  11. I think anchovies and steak are a match made in heaven.

    • Joumana, I do believe you’re right. 🙂

  12. I heard that anchovies and lamb is a popular combination in Spanish cooking.I have never tried it myself but love anchovies

    • Thanks for stopping by and the comment. I’m loving that anchovy/lamb combo.

  13. I’ve driven across Kansas twice in my life so can totally relate to being easily amused along that trek! Since I have discovered anchovy paste that’s what I use when making Caesar salad dressing but that’s about my extend of cooking with anchovies. However, since steak is a regular on the grill here in the summer, I’d love to try this recipe – it sounds wonderful!

    • I don’t know why that paste wouldn’t work for this butter.

  14. Of course your tri-tip is fab, but I could spread that anchovy caper dip on my thumb and be happy. GREG

    • Thanks Greg, and LOL about the thumb. I agree. 🙂

  15. Another one of you dishes I LOVE! I am such a fan of the anchovy and all the depth and flavor they can add to a dish! This is an awesome combination and perfect for summer! Can’t wait to try it!!!

    • Thanks! Enjoy that butter, we loved it.

  16. I really need to experiment more with flavored butters. There’s so much you can do and so many wonderful ways to complement a meal. Anchovy butter sounds out of this world.

    • I agree with you Sara. I think this might be the first flavored butter I’ve tried and it makes such a creamy flavorful difference. Good to hear from you and hope to see you at Michele’s.

  17. People definitely go a little insane about anchovies, but most of the time you can’t even tell they’re there! aside from the thoroughly addictive savory salty flavor they add to things. This butter sounds perfect in every way.

    • Thanks Joanne. I agree, but I do know that I can tell when Caesar Dressing is void of anchovies. They really make a unique difference. As always thanks for stopping by.

  18. A nice big piece of butter on steak is always good, but add anchovies and capers to it and it’s near perfection. I will try this for sure!

    • I’m convinced that I love capers in almost anything.

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