Anchovies are small, cold water fish that are most commonly found preserved in salt and sold in cans or jars and do not require refrigeration before opening (see Canned Anchovies here). Originally white in color, curing turns the flesh a dark brown and causes the bones dissolve partially or entirely. Cured anchovies have a strong fish flavor and are very salty. Another method of preserving is in vinegar, a popular method in Spain. Known as boquerones, these anchovies stay white and have a much more mild tangy flavor. These fish must be kept cold, but will last for months in the refrigerator.


Other names: Anchovies
Translations: Anšovs, Ančiuvis, Hamsie, Inćun, Cá đối, Anchois, Ansjovis, Ansjos, Anchova, Анчоус, Γαύρος, أنشوفة سمكة, 멸치, Sardel, Сардела, Dilis, 鳀鱼, Anxova, Sardoni, Langusta, Acciuga, אנשובי, Ansjovis, Ikan Teri, アンチョビ, Anchois, Sardelle, Ansjos, Anchoa, Анчоус, Sardelli, Аншоа

Physical Description

Anchovies are small salty green fish with blue reflections due to a silver longitudinal stripe that runs from the base of the caudal fin. They range from 2 centimetres (0.79 in) to 40 centimetres (16 in) in adult length, and the body shape is variable with more slender fish in northern populations.

Colors: silver when whole, the filets are a light brown color

Tasting Notes

Flavors: salty, fishy
Mouthfeel: Tender, Flakey moist
Food complements: Sage, Tomatoes, Garlic, Lemon, Vinegar
Wine complements: White wine, Red wine, Bandol, Tavel, Greco di tufo, Sylvaner, Fino sherry, Saumur, Muscadet, Trebbiano, Spanish rosado, Fruity reds, Verdiccio, Frascati, Manzanilla sherry, Dry rose, Orvieto, Txakoli, Sauvignon blanc, Riesling, Vernaccia
Beverage complements: Beer, Hard cider, Milk
Substitutes: Anchovy paste, Smelt, Sardines, Fish sauce

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: Anchovies can concentrate domoic acid, which causes amnesic shellfish poisoning in humans, sea mammals, and birds. If suspected, medical attention should be sought. Anchovies also contain a high level of uric acid, a build-up of which can cause the inflammatory condition known as gout.
Buying: For domestic use, anchovy fillets are packed in oil or salt in small tins or jars, sometimes rolled around capers. Anchovy paste is also available.
Procuring: They are found in scattered areas throughout the world's oceans, but are concentrated in temperate waters, and are rare or absent in very cold or very warm seas. They are generally very accepting of a wide range of temperatures and salinity. Large schools can be found in shallow, brackish areas with muddy bottoms, as in estuaries and bays.

Preparation and Use

Because of the strong flavor, they are also an ingredient in several sauces, including Worcestershire sauce, remoulade and many fish sauces, and in some versions of Café de Paris butter.


Fresh and dried anchovies are a popular part of the cuisine in Kerala and other south Indian states, where they are referred to as "Kozhuva" (and "Nethili" in Tamil Nadu) and provide a cheap source of protein in the diet. Fresh anchovies are eaten fried or as in a spicy curry.

History: In Roman times, they were the base for the fermented fish sauce called garum that was a staple of cuisine and an item of long-distance commerce produced in industrial quantities, and were also consumed raw as an aphrodisiac



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