This is an extremely versatile sauce, which happily coats linguini, beef fillet, poultry, or sits on the side of a mild fish dish.
Put 1 -2 anchovies , 2 tbspns of their oil, 1 bay leaf and a garlic clove or two, smashed. And a tiny pinch of red pepper flakes.
Let gently heat up, on very low heat, and after 3-4 minutes start shuffling it around with a wooden spoon, pushing down and disolving the anchovies and garlic, like a heated-pestle-and-mortar.
As it becomes messy and darker add a splash of *white wine and a tablespoon of water.
Take off the heat and let cool.
* Cognac instead of wine is great for red meats, and so is butter in that case instead of oil.
-But you can substitute that stage with lemon for fish or poultry, and stock or water from a pasta pot if using as a pasta sauce.
-Another variant is to add 1 tspn of tomato paste in the beginning for a sweeter result to offset the saltiness of the anchovies.