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What are white anchovies?

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Last week I had white anchovies for the first time. I was at a fairly upscale restaurant and ordered a Caesar salad with white anchovies. The salad was good but the anchovies tasted to me exactly like pickled herring. The pieces were cut to the look of the fish was not a help. Did I actually have white anchoives or was the restaurant cutting corners?

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    1. white anchovies are indeed wonderful- much different that the kind you regularly see- the difference is that the brown hairy little things are salt cured and packed in oil, and therefore shelf stable. Boqureones are not cured.

      1. I tried white anchoives at a little Spanish deli in Coral Gables called Xixon a few months ago. My wife and I thought that they tasted almost like pickled herring like you said. Can't find these anywhere around me so If I want the taste of white anchovies it's goint to be herring.

        2 Replies
        1. re: scubadoo97

          Are you any where near a Whole Foods? They carry them in DC and NY ... don't know about other stores.

          1. re: scubadoo97

            Real boquerones don't look or taste at all like pickled herring, so I would guess that they were using some other fish or really bad quality canned fish. This is what they should look like if they have been marinated in vinegar:


          2. I agree completely about the taste. I had the anchovies on a caesar salad a few times in what it supposed to be a very upscale restaurant in the chicago area...the salad was great....the anchovies ALL 2 of them were quite good and tasted exactly like pickled herring....are these miniscule things expensive that for about $13 you are only served 2 on an entire salad? i have a feeling that this is the latest 'lets fool the public'

            1. these are one of my favorite foods...the only place i've been able to find them in bulk and not super expensive is in San Fran. On the east coast, where I live, they are VERY expensive.

              i've never had pickled herring so I can't compare the taste but the white anchovies don't taste like regular anchovies mostly because they are brined in vinegar.

              1. White anchovies are simply anchovies that are filleted and then marinated in white vinegar. These are popular in Sicily.

                And what most people don't know, or realize, is that fresh anchovies have a much softer and gentler taste than processed anchovies. The strong taste that people associate with anchovies is due to (various) curing processes.

                1 Reply
                1. re: crt

                  One of my favorite foods too! They're popular throughout the Mediterranean. My wife and I were in Sicily in September, where I finally ate my fill, but I've also had them elsewhere in Italy, in Spain, in southern France, and in Turkey.

                  In Spain there is a traditional tapas dish called something like "plato matrimonio" which is simply an artistic arrangement of white (pickled) and black (salt-cured) anchovies. Here in Boston the most authentic local Spanish restaurant, Taberna de Haro, serves it.

                  As for the tasting like pickled herring - I'm a fan of both, and they're definitely similar, but the taste is not quite the same, herring is much oilier, and the texture is distinctly different.