I love this recipe for fresh baked anchovies with herbed bread crumbs. Garlic and capers add extra flavor and the peperoncino (chili pepper) adds just enough heat to elevate the recipe to simply delicious.
Michael Pollan's Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual
Michael Pollan has written a number of sensible and down to earth books about food and eating including Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. It’s full of all kinds of wise tips that are a guide to a healthy eating lifestyle and each and every rule makes sense and is something that basically you probably know already but the book is a good checklist and reminder on healthy eating.
“Don’t overlook the oily little fishes”
One thing Pollan talks about is eating foods that are sustainable. His rule number 32 is: “Don’t overlook the oily little fishes”. Wild fish are the healthiest fish to eat but larger wild fish are at risk due to overfishing. In addition they often contain high levels of mercury. So it’s best to think about the little oily fish that are wild and abundant like anchovies, sardines and mackerel. Baked Fresh Anchovies is a great way to prepare oily little fishes like anchovies.
Many people are convinced anchovies are fishy and salty
Lots of people say “oh, no way, anchovies are too fishy and salty for my taste” and so they avoid them completely. These are the salt-cured anchovies you find in a jar that are used as a pizza topping or condiment, but a fresh anchovy is another thing altogether.
Fresh anchovies are delicate little white fish
Fresh anchovies are delicate little white fish and as tasty as could be, especially baked fresh anchovies. They are simple to clean and usually you find them already cleaned and ready to cook from your fish monger. For those of you who don’t live in an area where you have access to fresh anchovies then buy them frozen.
- 24 Fresh Anchovies cleaned & deboned
- 30 grams Capers packed in salt and rinsed 30 grams
- 20 grams Dried bread crumbs 20 grams
- 1 handful Parsley a generous handful
- 1 Garlic clove peeled
- 1 Peperoncino hot chili pepper
- 35 grams Extra-virgin olive oil 35 grams (2 - 3 tablespoons)
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
How to clean the anchovies:
- To clean the anchovies:
- Remove the fish heads.
- Run your thumb along gthe belly side of the anchovies to open them up.
- Starting at the head end of the anchovy, gently lift up the fish bone and remove.
- Rinse the anchovy and set aside
Prepare the herbed bread crumbs:
- Combine the capers, bread crumbs, peperoncino, parsley and garlic clove in a food processor and process until minced.
Assemble the anchovies for baking:
- Spread out the cleaned anchovies, skin side down, on a baking sheet lined with oven paper.
- Sprinkle the herbed breadcrumb mixture on top of the first layer of anchovies, salt and then place a second layer of anchovies on top.
- Sprinkle on additional herbed breadcrumbs, then another layer of anchovies, salt and add more breadcrumbs.
- Continue until you have used up all the anchovies and herbed breadcrumbs.
- Generously drizzle the anchovies with extra-virgin olive oil.
- Bake the anchovies until golden, about 20 minutes.
- Delicious served with a tossed green salad!
Here's a great marinated anchovies recipe from the Marche region.
Anchovies are also a major source of umami flavor in Italian cuisine.
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