Marinated anchovies?

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Marinated anchovies?

Postby grisell » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:36 am

Does anyone have a good recipe for marinated anchovies, Meditteranean style?
André

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Postby vagreys » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:31 pm

Sorry I missed this, yesterday. I can't get good, fresh anchovies, here in land-locked central Virginia. I do have a recipe for making your own, small batch of Catalan-style marinated anchovies, as taught to me by a chef in Barcelona. This takes 2-3 days, and at the end of the process, the fish will keep for about a week, tops.

1. You want to start with the freshest whole anchovies you possibly can, because they spoil VERY quickly. Rinse them under cold water, scale them, gut them and rinse them clean (if you need more details on this, let me know). Some people butterfly them and remove the bones at this point, but I was taught to marinate them, first, because the backbones come out easier. You have to be careful, though, because after they marinate, they are also easier to mangle.

2. immediately layer your cleaned anchovies in a non-reactive container, starting with a thin layer of salt on the bottom of the container, then laying down a layer of anchovies, generously salting those, laying down another layer, salting those, etc. Once you have salted all the anchovies, pour over enough high-quality (chilled) wine vinegar to completely cover the anchovies, cover the container and refrigerate for 24-48 hours (Jordi did them for as little as 12 hours, in a pinch). The Catalan use a white wine vinegar, or more rarely a sherry vinegar (sherry vinegar being more common in the south), whereas Italian and Greek versions call more often for red wine vinegar.

3. After the anchovies have finished the first marinade, drain the anchovies and discard the vinegar. Now it is time to butterfly the anchovies and remove the backbones.

4. There are two approaches to butterflying and removing the backbones:
a) run your thumb along the back, splitting the fish along the back, then pulling the backbone out the top from head to tail, leaving the ventral side intact (faster and the way I was taught); or,
b) run a knife along the ventral side from where you gutted the anchovy to the tail, then pull the backbone out the bottom from head to tail, leaving the dorsal side intact (slower and not as thorough deboning).

5. The butterflied anchovies will have white flesh if you used white wine vinegar, or a pink tint if you used a red wine vinegar. As you butterfly and debone the anchovies, you will be layering them skin-side down in another container for their final marinade.

6. For the final marinade, some Catalan-style anchovies are simply marinated in very fine olive oil, allowing the quality of the olive oil to come through (like a fine piqual olive oil). Some are seasoned with minced garlic, and some add a variety off other things, along with garlic, such as chopped flat-leaf parsley (very Greek), paper thin onion slices, minced sweet pepper, etc. A little lemon zest can spark things, nicely.

If you want to do a simple olive oil marinade, then layer the anchovies, skin-side down, and cover with the finest olive oil you can get, as you go, so there are no air pockets.

If you want to do a seasoned marinade, then for each kilogram of anchovies, you will want 10-12 very fresh garlic cloves, finely minced, and optionally, about a cup of chopped parsley. If you want to add onion, then you can slice paper-thin slices and lay them between the layers of anchovies. Lay down a layer of anchovies, sprinkle with minced garlic (and parsley and whatever else), lay down another layer of anchovies, then more garlic, etc., and finally cover with a high-quality olive oil (though not necessarily an expensive varietal). You will want to tap the container on the counter and also gently shake the contents back and forth to remove air bubbles (you may not want to add oil as you go, because the parsley and garlic can float and make things awkward).

Cover and refrigerate, marinating for a minimum of 4 hours and preferably a full 24 hours, at least. They will keep for about a week, refrigerated, in the olive oil. A little vinegar will leave the fish and form small pockets of loose vinegar in the oil, and that is OK.

Hope this helps, André.
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Postby grisell » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:35 am

Thank you! :D

We can buy frozen Turkish anchovies here for $2-3 a pound so I thought I'd give it a try.
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Postby DiggingDogFarm » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:44 pm

I sure wish we could get fresh anchovies here!!

I've often wondered if fresh water minnows would be good? :shock: LOL

Seriously!

Mountain anchovies anyone?
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Postby vagreys » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:43 pm

DiggingDogFarm wrote:...Mountain anchovies anyone?

I think minnows are probably closer to smelt, or maybe that very small fish from the Mekong for a Vietnamese fish fry. Hmm. Have to go down to the bait shop!
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Postby Spuddy » Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:50 pm

We can't get fresh anchovies here very easly either so I have done this using fresh sprats before with good results. My recipe (Italian) is pretty much the same as Vagreys' one above except we use white wine vinegar AND lemon juice plus there's some fresh red chilli and a little oregano mixed with the garlic and parsley at the oil stage. I think the lemon zest is a great idea.
Ones I've made in the past have lasted well beyond a week, more like a month but they're usually eaten by then. :)
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Postby grisell » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:30 pm

This looks like a nice recipe. It's consistent with vagrey's recipe. I think it could be made even better if one grills and peels the peppers first.

http://homecooking.about.com/od/fishrec ... lfish8.htm

I might try it. In that case I'll be back with pictures of course.
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Postby grisell » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:18 pm

So, I tried it. First thing was to immerse the fish in lots of salt and vinegar. Funny thing: the Turkish(? probably, don't know) store owner said he never heard about anyone human eating the fish. It's only used by Poles and Russians who fish in the nearby lake , he said. Well, we'll see about that...

I will be back with reports of course.

Image
Image
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Postby salumi512 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:53 pm

Hmm. Hard to tell from the pics, but they don't look to be gilled and gutted. Were they already?
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Postby grisell » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:49 am

They are not. I will take care of that later. :)
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Postby vagreys » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:34 am

One man's bait is another man's delicacy. I hope they weren't treated as bait before freezing and were frozen promptly. Good luck with your attempt!
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Postby salumi512 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:44 am

I'm with the store clerk. Anything frozen with its guts in it, isn't going in my belly.
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Postby grisell » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:25 pm

salumi512 wrote:I'm with the store clerk. Anything frozen with its guts in it, isn't going in my belly.


:)
André

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Postby Dogfish » Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:02 pm

salumi512 wrote:I'm with the store clerk. Anything frozen with its guts in it, isn't going in my belly.


Actually (and this is where I can claim some experience) if you're not immediately on a coastline, your best bet is almost always round fish with the guts in. I say this because most freezer boats freeze their catch at sea promptly and so there's no chance for it to go sour. Anchovies sour in a matter of hours -- if they're pre filleted and fresh, I'd bet money they're garbage. Often, the bait is of higher quality.

As well, by the time people away from the coast get the frozen fish, because the fish was frozen round, all freezer burn stays on the outside of the fish with the skin. If you freeze a fish right off the bat, guts in, you'll have a better product than a gutted fish that's been frozen. The exception is with the finer tuna, salmon, and halibut: but those sell quickly and so the quality stays up. Likewise sablefish (the delicious fillets on top of the prawns).

Many of these fish are "hot" -- they decay asap from enzymes in the gut. What you're looking for is what we called "belly burn" -- red or pink on the gill cover and belly, which are the richest. Also, fishy smell. Even fishy fish like herring and anchovies smell sweet when they're fresh; salmon smell almost herbal. If they don't smell this way, they aren't fresh, which will change their flavour into a harsher, less complex fishy manner. For salted fish, this is no big deal. For fresh eaten pickled, it can be.

The one picture is of young herring I'd dipnet on Vancouver Island. They were about three inches long and we'd flour them and fry them whole with malt vinegar. They would sour to the point of disintegration in about four hours, even refrigerated. The guts may be disgusting until you think of eating shellfish, and these are the closest that I can compare the taste to: light, briny, slightly sweet and only the gentlest of fishy. The second photo -- well -- that's sablefish, perhaps the finest fish I've ever eaten, and a bucket of the finest spot prawns known to man.

Bottom line though: if with sausages, hygiene and salt, then with fish, cold, now. Everything else is peripheral. I spent a lot of time on a salmon boat and even more time fishing, and it boiled down to that.

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Postby grisell » Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:35 pm

:shock: That looks super fresh!
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