Introduction: Boquerones: Vinegar and Oil-Cured Anchovies
Since the dawn of time, anchovies have been an important component of diets for anyone living near the sea. You’d be wise to continue the tradition - they’re chock-full of Omega 3’s without any contaminants. And because they’re near the bottom of the food chain, and are a well-managed U.S. fishery, they’re sustainable as can be. This recipe is delicious, inexpensive, and very stable. Jars can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a year or pressure-cooked and kept on your shelves for up to ten years.
There are three components to this quick and easy recipe:
1. Lightly salt the fish to begin drying and preserving them.
2. Pickle in Apple Cider Vinegar.
3. Cover with oil, citrus and bay leaves to remoisten flesh and protect fish from bacteria.
Step 1: Ingredients and Preparation
1 pound fresh or frozen anchovies (fresh is preferable)
1 cup salt
4 garlic cloves sliced thinly (optional)
10-15 bay leaves (optional)
1/4 red onion - thin strips (optional)
2 cups apple cider
2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
It’s simple to clean anchovies, but even simpler to ask your fishmonger to do it for you. If it’s up to you, slit the bellies and remove the innards. A trick to easily remove is to grab the head and pull it back, popping out the backbone enough to grab and pull down the fish towards the tail, like a zipper. This will also pull off the tail, which you want. Tear off the head. You can also wait to remove the spine after they have been pickled, making it a bit easier. Rinse and place each anchovy on a clean towel. Blot dry with another towel
Step 2: Curing and Pickling
Mix one cup fine salt with garlic cloves and onion. Spread 1/4 of this mixture on the bottom of the baking dish. Lay the anchovies on their side on top of the salt until they cover the dish. Add more salt and another layer of anchovies. Continue this layering until all anchovies are used. Cover with remaining salt mixture. Set aside for a half hour. This draws moisture from the fish.
After 30 minutes, slowly pour apple cider vinegar into the dish and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8-48 hours. 8 hours yields lightly cured anchovies, while 48 hours will create a chewier, more pickled anchovy. After desired refrigeration time, the anchovies should be an opaque white. With gloves or clean hands, remove anchovies and place into clean jars. Add some of the garlic to the jars to ward off vampires. Add olive oil until anchovies are fully submerged. Add a bay leaf and a few strips of lemon zest, if you’re feeling saucy.
Step 3: Storing and Enjoying!
At this point, you can place in refrigerator or pressure cook, which makes them shelf-stable but also makes the texture a bit tougher. Enjoy straight from the jar, or quickly rinse under cold water if you prefer them a bit less salty. Always use a clean fork or utensil to remove anchovies from jar, in order to prevent introduction of any pathogens.
Enjoy these atop bagels, crackers or anything with a texture that is crunchy, since these anchovies are soft. These also make for an amazing Caesar dressing. Please add any recipe variations or ways you like to enjoy them in the comments below. Thanks and bon appétit!