How to Cook Fresh Anchovies


Fresh anchovies barely resemble the hairy canned fillets bought in the store. They are prepared in a variety of traditional Spanish and Italian dishes to lend a salty, meaty flavor. Packed with vitamins, these fish can be marinated overnight or cooked straight from the catch. Prepare them quickly as they are easily spoiled.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh anchovies
  • Olive oil
  • Spices
  • Vinegar


  • Wash the fish thoroughly in water.

  • Fillet each anchovy by slicing it open and removing the head and bones, using a small, sharp knife.

  • Wash the anchovies again and dry them.

Cooking Options

  • Saute the anchovies by heating olive oil with garlic and spices in a pan until sizzling before adding the cleaned fish. Cook with sausage or vegetables to round out the dish, or add to a soup for a kick of flavor.

  • Bake at 350 degrees F until the color slightly changes, about five minutes. Add breadcrumbs or croutons to the fish that are covered in olive oil and spices. Mixed into a pasta dish or a sauce, the anchovies will have a soft texture and fishy flavor.

  • Marinate the cleaned fish overnight in vinegar mixed with spices. There should be enough salt in the marinade that the fish should float in the middle of the mixture.

  • Deep-fry the fish in hot olive oil after coating the anchovies with salted semolina or wheat flour. This gives a nice crust to the exterior and maintains moisture in the meat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose three or four anchovies per person if adding into a dish.

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  • Photo Credit Steven Errico/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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