First of all, I would like to warn you that in Spain, the word “anchovies” can be translated in 3 different ways. Although all of those terms refer to the same fish:
- In the south of Spain (Malaga, Sevilla…) they are called “boquerones”
- In the north of Spain (Bilbao, Santiago de Compostela…) “anchoas”
- And in the center (Madrid, Toledo…) of Spain they are called “sardinillas”
Spanish anchovies in vinegar.
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 1 kg of anchovies
- 300 cl of white wine vinegar or cider white vinegar
- 100 cl of water
- 600 cl of olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
“Spanish trick: Keep the vinegar and the water in the fridge. Once they are cold you can mix them with the anchovies “
STEP 1.- Clean the anchovies
In order to cook the best Spanish anchovies in vinegar, firstly you will have to perfectly clean and prepare the anchovies. Maybe you managed to get the anchovies already cleaned and prepared in the supermarket. However, in the case you didn’t find them already prepared, don’t worry, here I show you how to prepare them:
Firstly, you have to place them in a very cold water bath with ice. Thereafter, you have to pull with your thumbnail the head of the anchovy. You should pull out its guts. Then, keep pushing with your thumb through the fish, from the opening that you have already made before in the head, towards the tail. Thus, every remaining part of gut, viscera or blood should be removed. By doing this, the anchovy is opened in the middle, but without being separated into two loins. The two loins should be joined by the center and the tail. After that, you should carefully pull out the spine from the central area. Take a look at the picture, the anchovy should be cleaned like that.
Finally, wash the Spanish anchovies under tap water and put them back into the ice water bath. After you finish with the cleaning, wash them again with water several times until removing any remaining blood.
The cleaning process is the most important step. This is because of the fact that a little bit of blood will give you a bitter taste in your Spanish anchovies
Step 2.- Prepare the marinade
First of all, add the cold vinegar (300cl) and a little bit of cold water (100cl) into a bowl or tupper. The secret of adding the water is for reducing the acidity of the medium. Therefore, the anchovies will not be to be overcooked in it. Additionally, add the salt as you wish.
Second of all, mix the marinade and place the anchovies already cleaned and opened inside the marinade. Place them with their skin facing down. Another important thing is that the marinade should perfectly cover all the fish. If it’s not the case add more vinegar and water.
Finally, cover the bowl or Tupper and keep it cold for two hours or so. After that, check that the meat of the anchovies is white, even inside the thickest parts of the anchovy. If not, leave them there more time until the meat is fully white.
If you use the marinade with only vinegar, it should be ready in 15-30 minutes. However, in our case, I recommend to leave it for 8 hours. However, the time also depends on the size of the fish.
“After leaving the marinade in the fridge, check that the meat of the anchovies is totally white.“
“Some Spanish cooks place the anchovies without removing their spine in the marinade. And after 8 hours they remove the spine. They claim that the acid of the marinade is too aggressive. Thus, leaving the spine in the anchovies will prevent the corrosion of the acid to the anchovies.”
Try both ways, marinating the anchovies with and without the spine, and let us know the results!
Step 3.- Keep them in the fridge
Once you have the anchovies with a white color, you can start separating the anchovies from the marinade. Do not dry them too much. After that, place them in another tupper layer by layer and with the skin downwards. Cover each layer with olive oil and fill the container with olive oil, covering all the fish.
Step 4.- Dressing the anchovies
Remove them from the freezer and let them cool down at room temperature. Then chop and grind the parsley and garlic in a mortar. Then, add the seasoning in your Spanish anchovies.
Finally, just remember to keep them in the fridge if you want to eat them in the next days.