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Nov 3, 2011 02:15 PM

How to handle canned anchovies?

I'm a fan of cured anchovy fillets, but this can of salted anchovies baffles me.

I have scraped off the salt and can chop the fish into a stew or sauce. The bones are crunchy.

The flesh is too soft to slice off a fillet.

It will take awhile to use up the four layers in the can.

Any suggestions from someone familiar with Calabria or Sicilian dishes?

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  1. Lol - I too was stymied by my first can of salt-cured anchovies.

    Try looking up recipes by Mario Batali or other traditional Italian chefs. Most of them only use salt-packed anchovies in their recipes.

    But the basic prep that I've read has been to gently rinse them under running water & soak them in milk for awhile; then rinse & use.

    But again - look for recipes by traditional Italian chefs, or try doing a search for "salted anchovy recipes".

    1. I think you can just rinse off the salt, remove the backbone and then use it in any recipe. I'd eat them with roasted garlic spread on crusty bread with a bit of olive oil. You can also keep the salt and use it in other recipes, since it's full of anchovy flavour.

      1. I believe that you can lift the fillets off the center bone with a fork or knife. Do not try to use the typical slicing motion it just tears the fillet.

        1. I suppose you could just use them whole (minus the spine), but but I've always heard/read that your're supposed to filet them, most easily by hand. It's easier to do than to describe, but basically you rinse them, then loosen the spine a bit and then, resting the filet on your four-non-thumb fingertips, peel out the filets by running your thumb between the filets and the skin. Unless you do it a lot, or frequently, it's a bit awkward, but still easier to do than to explain. And with nearly a kilo fish there, you can afford to mangle a few while you practice. ;)

          1. Do you know any cats? ; )