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Spanish Boquerones....

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I love all forms of fish, including anchovies, sardines, and on occasions, Ventresca tuna by Flott or Ortiz. Had never even heard of Boquerones until a few months ago. I know they're supposed to be milder and less salty than anchovies. Would like to hear more about them. Are they special in taste? Any particular brand to look for? Suggestions on how to serve them would be appreciated.

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  1. Boquerones are fresh anchovies marinated first in salt, then wine or sherry vinegar, or both salt and vinegar at the same time, which turns them white. They are fantastic. A nice, light fish taste in a mild tangy vinegar, with a small amount of parsley and chopped garlic. Sometimes with olive oil, which I think makes them even better.

    I like them on thin slices of baguette, toasted or not. Also with some roasted bell pepper is very good (I like the orange ones best when roasted.) Or chopped ripe tomato. I also chop up a few into 1/2" pieces and throw on top of a Caesar salad. They are sometimes served with olives and capers.

    I once made them with linguine and sauteed yellow bell pepper, capers, and garlic. The Boquerones were tossed with the sauteed mix, chopped fresh parsley, and fried bread crumbs. I think this was the recipe. http://www.marthastewart.com/925940/l...

    They are usually served with beer due to the acidity which doesn't work well with wine.

    I don't remember any brand names, but I have never had a bad one. A few years ago I made them myself. A bit time consuming, and the cleaning the anchovies is a bit of work, but a lot cheaper than buying pre-made, and tastier since I used high quality olive oil, sherry vinegar, fresh cracked black pepper, and tons of garlic and parsley. I just started craving them and I think I will have to get some, or make a batch from scratch.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JMF

      I did see a recipe for making your own, but have no source for "fresh" ones, (even on the NC coast). Would like to know... How pickled do they taste?

      1. re: Phoebe

        Slightly pickled. Not extremely heavy.

      2. re: JMF

        JMF nails it. They are good with roasted red peppers, but I especially like them on bread with roasted pepper and goat cheese. There is something about their tang and brine that makes it work.

      3. Yes to all that JMF said, rarely seen in small cans, jars etc. Usually gourmet stores sell by weight from large containers. We used to buy them in a 2x2 kilo size.
        Found them not to work when cooked, as on a pizza but just eat them on a fork and they are indeed stellar, the Italian version is called alici and l cannot tell the difference between them and boquerones

        2 Replies
        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          I've only seen them a few times bulk. I see them in high end supermarkets deli's and Italian deli's in small, 4 oz. clear plastic, vacuum packed containers.

          I also agree that they don't work cooked. But tossed into a salad, pasta, etc. or as a garnish for a dish. I think they go very well with hot or room temp. boiled potatoes as a side dish. I've had them on slices of boiled new potato instead of bread. Tasty.

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            Whole Foods sells them (at least some locations do) in a flat package of about 30 anchovies vacuum sealed with a little liquid in it for about $15. I've found them in the little refrigerated section which contains the lox trimmings and preserved white fish.

          2. They are much more mild and less "fishy" tasting. In spain i often had them served just ontop of toast as an app, was awesome with either cava or the local fizzy hard cider.

            1. Pickled fresh "white" anchovies are popular all over the Mediterranean. I've had delicious ones in Italy, Greece, and Turkey, as well as in Spain.

              For you serious anchovy fans, there's a traditional Spanish tapa called Plato Matrimonio, which is nothing more (nor less) than an artful arrangement of white (pickled) and black (salt-cured) anchovies. It's quite common in Spain, but here in Boston only one of the better Spanish restaurants offers it (though they all have boquerones).

              As for serving, I prefer them "straight up," so to speak, with bread on the side.