I first made this dish at a fishermen’s society. After a day of fishing the fishermen go to a private club where they cook the fish they have just caught in a very simple Spanish way. This version combines fresh fish, bread and lettuce to serve with a good glass of Txakolina, a type of lightly sparkling wine. Simple is best. Simple pleasure.
- 800 g/1 lb 12 oz whole fresh anchovies
- 50 g/2 oz/scant ½ cup plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 lettuce, separated into leaves and rinsed
- 1 white onion, thinly sliced
- 1 white baguette
- light olive oil, for frying
- extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar, to serve
- salt and pepper
- Remove the heads and clean the anchovies with your thumb or a small knife. Rinse them lightly under cold running water and pat dry with kitchen paper (paper towels). Sift the flour onto a plate and season with salt and pepper. Roll the fish in the flour, shaking off any excess, until they are thinly and evenly coated.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of the light olive oil in a frying pan (skillet) over a high heat. When the oil is very hot, fry the anchovies in batches, adding just enough to cover the base of the pan and taking care not to overfill it. Fry each batch on both sides for 2–3 minutes, adding a little of the garlic each time halfway.
- Drain the anchovies and garlic from the pan once the anchovies have a crisp crust. Transfer the anchovies and garlic to a platter or serving dish. Mix the lettuce and sliced onion in a bowl and follow the Spanish custom of placing bottles of extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar on the table for your guests to dress the lettuce themselves.
- Accompany with crusty baguettes.