Monday, November 14, 2011

Pan Fried Anchovies from Croatia

It's Monday, how about a fish story?
These beauties were caught off the coast of Croatia the day before we met. One glance into their eyes, and I fell in love. I'd never cooked with anchovies before but suspected that any fish this fresh had to be delicious.

Once home from the farmers market, I found out that anchovies are a cinch to cook. The fiddliest part is the prep, because of the multitudes. But don't let that faze you. It's just a matter of washing well, off with their heads and a thorough gutting to avoid the innards and their bitter flavor. Once your anchovies are beheaded and gutted, rinse them once more and dry inside and out. (Getting rid of extra moisture keeps fish from turning soggy when you're pan frying.)

The hard part's done. Set up a dinner plate with a few cups of corn and wheat flour and salt and pepper to taste. Then roll your fish through the mix, making sure they're covered from head to tail.

Now heat up a big pan full of sunflower or olive oil on a burner that's big enough to get your oil hot but not smoking. You'll want about 2 cm/.5 inch of oil in the pan. Once the oil is ready, drop your fish in and fry until they are golden brown, about one minute per side.

Drain your anchovies with a big slotted spoon, nestle them onto a bed of paper towels and lunch is served!

We dined that day with our fingers, squeezing lemons over the fish while they were hot, adding ketchup for the kids, who ate with gusto. We did too. It was fare to remember.


1 kilo fresh anchovies
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup corn flour
2 tsp salt
ground pepper to taste
sunflower or olive oil for frying
lemon wedges and ketchup for the table


Barrett Bonden said...

One of the great dividing lines in the Bonden union. But I'm OK with whitebait though not the NZ variety (which are, as far I could see, tiny baby eels.) Did your enthusiasm date back to the USA? There they seemed to be a source of marital strife, especially when it came to pizza.

Julia said...

I'm from the coast, and grew up loving any seafood that wasn't fish. Shrimp, crab, oysters, clams - I'd eat them any time of day. When we moved here, our easy access to decent seafood was completely cut, except when we went back to the States or to France each summer. I added mussels and squid to my list of favorite foods, thanks to Brittany.

Very recently we started to be able to find (almost) fresh fish in Prague, for high but not impossible prices. The shrimp and other seafood that I usually prefer are even more pricey than the fish, so I decided to expand our repertoire. Now I buy the freshest fish at the market and see what I can do with it.

This was the first time I'd ever had an anchovy that wasn't in a jar. It isn't salty at all this way, you might try it again sometime. (And I'll keep my eye out for whitebait, I've never heard of it before.)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Any fresh fish is great. I've never seen an anchovy fresh though.

Lucy said...

Silver darlings! These look good, and you crunch the bones all up too? My mum used to wax lyrical about the sprats she had as a kid that her dad caught. I find whitebait a bit indigestible, probably because I've had them as starters with over-heavy meals, whereas they'd probably be better enjoyed as a simple dish on their own.

Anchovies here are just as likely to be pickled like herrings as the salty tinned ones. I like both very much, but I wish the French wouldn't sometimes put the pickled ones on pizzas, where they aren't very nice, when I'm expecting the salty ones!

Ellen said...

Am thinking you'll be the cook over Christmas! This plus Dutch babies!