House-Cured Anchovies

May 19, 2009 Published in the June 2007 issue of Portland Monthly


Recipe Courtesy David Padberg

A fresh anchovy should be "four to eight inches long, with blue-green scales, silvery sides and no breaks in the skin," says Park Kitchen’s David Padberg. "You want bright eyes, and a fish that looks straight and stiff, not flaccid." Fubonn Supermarket sells them whole, or skinned and gutted.

Serves 8


1 lb anchovies, fresh or frozen
1 cup dry sherry
1 cup sherry vinegar
1 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sprigs each rosemary and thyme
1 fennel bulb, white part thinly shaved
10 niçoise olives
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Salt to taste

(1) If the anchovies are frozen, run them under cold water until thawed.
(2) Remove all the scales by rinsing fish under cool running water and rubbing them with your fingers, or use the blunt side of a small knife and flake the scales off, going from tail to head.
(3) To gut the fish, hold the meatiest part with your thumb and forefinger. With your other hand, pinch just behind the head and gills until you clench the spine, then gently pull down to remove the head, spine, inner sac and tail in one piece. Rinse fillets again and pat dry.
(4) Spread fillets in a shallow dish and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cover with sherry and sherry vinegar and refrigerate for one hour, or until they turn opaque.
(5) Drain off the liquid and cover fillets with olive oil, top with garlic and herbs, and refrigerate again for a few hours.
(6) Serve these as is with shaved fennel, olives and lemon slices (in winter, when kumquats are in season, you may substitute kumquat slices for the lemon), and plain crackers if you like.

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