Strong! Intense! Addictive! …Gives you a smile of an instant satisfaction and makes you look at the world through pink glasses. Am I talking about love? Well , not today!
Anchovy – one of the true wonders of the sea. It enriches everything that comes in contact with; fresh lettuce salad and anchovy dressing, a fake putanesca spaghetti with anchovies and spicy tomatoes ….heaven!
I think way too many Americans don’t give enough respect to the Anchovies. They either find them too salty, or too fish or not so eastetic on the plate. well, that’s true. Mostly anchovies are available in jars, tubes or cans which naturally come salty.
I could write a whole web site about anchovies and uses but today I’ll focus only about fresh caught anchovies, that you can eat raw. Depending on the region you live it might be difficult to find fresh caught anchovies but if you have an access to a fish market or a friendly fishmonger, you can ask to put aside some fresh anchovies when they’re available.
Try the following for an unforgetable taste of ocean (NOTE – it is very important that the fish is same day caught, not frozen and defrosted, and all other ingredients are of highest quality) :
FRESH ANCHOVY TAPAS
1 pound super fresh anchovies
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
High quality rock salt or kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Toasted baguette or Italian bread
- Clean anchovies well, keeping them whole.
- Dry them completely and place them next to each other (like soldiers) on a shallow non-reactive, glass dish. One layer only - make sure they’re next to each other and not on top.
- Sprinkle rock salt (or kosher salt) on that will cover the whole fish. Don’t be afraid of the amount of salt, you won’t eat it.
- Cover the fish and refrigerate for 6 hours.
- After the first 3 hours turn all fish over, discard water if there is any, and put more salt.
- Cover again and let it sit in the refrigerator for the rest 3 hours .
- After 6 hours take the fish out and wash thoroughly under running cold water cleaning all the salt. Take a large bowl ad fill it with cold water and ice cubes. Take a fish and carefully pull the head, then pull it towards the belly; that will allow the head come out with all the attached bones. Turn fish over and gently remove the skin and any leftover bones. Now you have a clean fillet – put it straight to the bowl with cold water and ice. Cold water will take all salt away.
- Once you cleaned all the anchovies, rinse them again under running cold water and dry them completely. Place the anchovy fillets on a serving plate, pour over extra virgin olive oil, salt to taste, fresh ground black pepper, capers and finally squeeze a half lemon over the fish.
- Prepare toasted bread. Take a garlic clove cut in half and rub it on the toast. Take a tomato and cut it in half and rub it over the toast. Put a couple of anchovy fillets on the toast …….. close your eyes and imagine the dark blue depths of the ocean!
Try this dish with a well chilled Pinot Grigio or, my favorite, with a Spanish Cava.