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White Anchovies • The Recipe You Need

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

Canned white anchovies are what you need right now in your refrigerator—their taste is enhanced and divine. An anchovy is a small fish known to be tiny and long.

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These are found in both marine water and fresh water. They’re sometimes compared to sardines, which many people believe taste just as good. To make the white anchovies into food, you must first cut them, gut them, then add salt to cure them.

What are Anchovies?

White anchovies are small, beautiful fish processed by salting and curing. This helps to enhance the taste. Some anchovies are salted for so long that they go from white to brownish in color.

The white anchovies are salted and cured slightly—not so much that the color changes, but just enough to get the desired taste. Salted white anchovies are packaged with vinegar and oil. This helps bring out the unique white anchovies taste that most people come to like and enjoy.

Brown anchovies and white anchovies are the main types of anchovies. White anchovies are one of the best things ever made. Some people prefer the not-so-mild taste of canned anchovies, while others prefer the milder taste of white anchovies. Think of something so exciting and thrilling that you don’t want the taste to end, and that’s exactly how it feels to have the subtly-flavored white anchovies in your mouth.

There are quite a lot of anchovies out there, and there are many ways people make them. From place to place, the various ways anchovies are prepared and processed can differ, but one step they all have in common is the gutting, salting, and curing of the fish.

That is the beautiful thing about food—every household and every restaurant has a way of making its own, and yet each taste is exquisite in its own individual way.

For those who see the beauty in variety, there are several ways to make and enjoy anchovies (like the Boquerones), so you do not have to be stuck in just one flavor of these little delicious fish. Sometimes, they are not even the main course. They work as a side dish and can be used to flavor the main food entree. Because of the intense flavor gained through the curing process, they are often used in small portions.

Using and Storing Anchovies

As you now know, anchovies are used to flavor sauces and other food. But that’s not all there is to it—you can use anchovies in a number of more complicated dishes too. Here are a few uses for anchovies:

  • Make anchovy butter: This butter could serve you in numerous ways, of which my favorite is serving it with fish!!!
  • Italian bagna cauda: This Italian sauce is a mixture of anchovy fillets, butter, garlic, and basil, served hot with veggies.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Yeah, anchovies are right there in your Worcestershire sauce that is used to enhance other food recipes itself. You might want to try this on steak or hamburger.
  • The anchovies, too, are used in dressings like Caesar salad dressing.
  • They are also used to flavor the Rémoulade as well.

It’s one thing to know how to use anchovies, and another thing to know how to make them last longer once they’ve been opened. When unopened, they can keep for a year on the shelf.

The best way is to keep the opened can or jar is tightly sealed in a fridge. If you’ve got tin anchovies, pour them in a bowl and then make sure to add more oil to submerge them completely. And that’s how you store anchovies so they don’t go bad when you need them.

White Anchovies Recipe

Most people who have had a taste of Boquerones, or marinated white anchovies, would tell you that only a few things taste better.

This could be an exaggeration, or not. It could be the talk of real fans of white anchovies, or people who simply can’t have enough of the thin, white, long fish. But one thing that is true for certain is that Boquerones tastes unique. And that’s why it’s perhaps the most loved white anchovies recipe.

Below are some things to note before planning to make Boquerones:

  • You can’t make it in a day. It’ll take a few days to go through all the steps, so don’t expect to eat it the day you start making it. Trust me though, it will be worth it in the end.
  • Use only fresh anchovies. No, you can’t make this with the white anchovies you get from the can or tin. You need fresh fish, and really clean ones too…because, well, clean ingredients make healthy food, right?

And now for the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Anchovies
  • Oil (olive oil, preferably)
  • Parsley leaves
  • Garlic
  • Red, sherry or white vinegar—your choice
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. Wash and clean the fresh anchovies.
  2. After washing the anchovies, salt them. To do this, you must pour a bit of salt in a bowl, putting the cleaned anchovies on the layer of salt before pouring more salt on top of the anchovies. This is done so the anchovies will be firm, and it also helps absorb the moisture from the fish.
  3. Marinate your fish in vinegar—either white, red or sherry. All three are equally really good so it’s up to you to pick whichever you want to use for your Boquerones.
  4. Allow the anchovies to marinate for about thirteen to fifteen hours in the fridge. The idea is to let them marinate for a long time, but not too long. It should be long enough that they marinate well, but not so long that they become vinegary.
  5. Once the time is up, you should take the anchovies out of the fridge and drain the vinegar, then take out the backbone of the anchovies. The backbone should be easy to pull out because the vinegar will have made the fish soft. All you must do is make a cut where the spine is and use the tip of the knife to raise the bones out. When that is done, you can cut the anchovies wide open in the center and spread them.
  6. Having prepared the anchovies, the next step is to get the bulbs of garlic and parsley leaves, dicing them up perfectly. Next, pour the olive oil in a clean bowl and sprinkle some of the chopped garlic and parsley leaves over the oil to make a bottom layer. After that, add some of the marinated anchovies and pour a little olive oil on them, sprinkling chopped garlic and parsley leaves. Repeat with the next layer of anchovies, and the next, until you are out of anchovies.
  7. Once done with that, shake the bowl a bit to let out any air held at the bottom. Seal the bowl and keep it in the fridge. And after about twelve hours, take out your Boquerones and dig right into it. You can eat it alone or serve with bread.

The Difference Between Sardines And Anchovies

While these two are very similar, there are a few differences between sardines and anchovies. Both are very delicious and both are sold in tins. Both are really small, so it is very easy to see why there is the confusion when it comes to these two oily fishes.

Sometimes, it doesn’t take being extraordinarily observant to know which is which. It just takes knowing which is which in the first place—that is, if you are trying to differentiate them physically.

While both are small fishes, sardines are way bigger than anchovies. While anchovies are originally white, you can tell they are different by the way they turn reddish-brown after the curing process. Sardines are sold white with prominent lower jaws. And they also taste so different that it should not take you a second after tasting them to tell which is which.

Sardines have a more subtle flavor than anchovies, which get their distinct and intense flavor from going through the curing process. Anchovies get a very aggressive flavor that sets them apart. So, it isn’t all that difficult to tell one from the other, all you have to know is what you are looking at.

Why Eat Anchovies?

The consumption of fish is on the rise. This might not come as a surprise to you since you already know how very nutritious fish are.

But why anchovies? 

That is simple. One of the reasons most people eat white anchovies is because of their subtle flavor, only achieved by being made with adept and skillful hands. But that is not the only reason to eat them. If you are one of those people who really need to see the nutrients in what they are eating before they introduce it to their diet, then anchovies are perfect for you.

It is very advisable to eat healthy food. While taking an adventure through food is wonderful, it is wise to know what you’re getting out of whatever goes into your mouth. Are you just getting taste? Taste and harmful substances? Or, taste and nutrients that are very helpful to your body?

My bet is that most people want the last option, which is where anchovies come in. Though small and with amazing flavor, the nutrients they contain will leave you amazed. Even a small addition of white anchovies to any dish you make can boost the flavor of that dish and increases its nutritional value.

  • Anchovies help with weight loss. Interesting, right? Those little delicious fish are low in calories and high in protein. The amount of protein they give you makes you feel full, while at the same time, it hinders you from taking more calories.
  • They also help with the reparation of cells and tissues. The abundance of protein in anchovies helps in so many parts of the body, and one thing they help with is the reparation of cells and tissues, especially when there is an injury. They also help reduce the possibility of having heart problems. This is because they contain a high dose of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy, fatty acids help to prevent inflammation and heart disease.
  • They have other nutrients and essential minerals which help stabilize the blood pressure and circulation. Packed with minerals like calcium, your bones will benefit from anchovy consumption too.

It is obvious that anchovies are essential food that could help you live well and enjoy the taste of good food while you’re at it. People use anchovies to garnish and add flavor to their food because of the strong flavor anchovies already carry. One way or the other, you need to have a taste of these. Either as a sauce or straight up, it’s time to try those small, canned fish you didn’t know about until now.

If you haven’t tried them yet, you definitely should. Don’t let something as sumptuous as white anchovies or brown anchovies pass you by without having a taste. The idea is to have the best experience you can afford, and this experience is not expensive—only beautiful!

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

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