The anchovy is a small yet incredibly versatile fish. It can be salted, and/or cured in brine, marinated and fermented. Originally these methods were ways of preserving the fish but although that is less important these days, they are still used to create a wide range of different flavours. Pickled anchovies are best known as Spanish boquerones en vinagre. The fillets are lightly salted and then marinated in vinegar for a couple of hours, or in a mixture of oil and vinegar. The acid in the vinegar ‘cooks’ the flesh of the fish making it soft, white and tasty. And on a different subject entirely – a high amount of acidity (either in a marinade or a poaching fluid) helps stop the smell of fish permeating the kitchen and the rest of the house.
- Total Time: 5 Hours 10 Minutes
- 175 g/6 oz fresh anchovy fillets
- 150 ml/5 fl oz/⅔ cup white wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- ½ white baguette
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, halved
- 2 × 50-g (2-oz) cans of anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- To prepare the boquerones, lay the anchovy fillets on a plate, skin-side up, and grind over a little pepper. Pour the vinegar over the fillets until they are just covered and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
- Lift the fillets from the marinade, rinse them lightly under cold running water and pat dry with kitchen paper (paper towels). Mix the olive oil with the garlic and parsley in a bowl. Arrange the fillets on a plate and pour over the garlic oil. Cover tightly with cling film (plastic wrap) and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Take the anchovy fillets out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before you are ready to serve them, so they have time to come to room temperature and any oil that has solidified can dissolve again.
- To make the tomato bread, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Halve the baguette lengthwise and cut each half into 5–8=cm/2–3-inch slices. Toast the bread on a rack in the oven, cut-sides up, for 3–5 minutes until the slices are golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- Rub the cut sides of the tomatoes over the bread as though you were ‘grating’ the tomato onto it. Divide the canned anchovy fillets between the bread slices and drizzle with olive oil.