The anchovies are a very peculiar food, as its taste is for some people really good, but for others is awful. The truth is that you can find a huge variety of ways to use anchovies, so no matter if you like it or not, you must admit that it´s a very flavory food and it´s very useful. In Spain, anchovies are mainly eaten as a tapa or pincho, but there are more ways. As anchovies are such a rare food, today we are going to answer to some of the most popular questions about anchovies like: What are anchovies? How to eat anchovies in Spain? How does it taste or look… and many more questions and facts about anchovies you may have!
What are anchovies?
First of all, we are sure you already know it, but anchovies are a fish. Being more specific, anchovies are a fish from the Engraulis or the Anchoa family. The truth is that anchovies are known more fore being a food dish than for being an animal, especially in the Mediterranean countries, where they are eaten a lot as tapas.
What do anchovies look like?
The look of the anchoas are tricky. Of course, is simple to distinguish it when it´s a fish as it´s a very small fish with green and silver colors and generally shiny! When it comes to food it´s when you will have more trouble distinguishing it. In Spain we recognize the “anchoa” when it´s brown and thin, but as you may know the Spanish boquerones are also anchovies, but just fried and with a thicker look.
What do anchovies taste like?
We could describe the taste of anchovies as very umami (I describe the meaning of the word below, in case you didn´t know about it). The taste of anchovies is very salty and fishy, which is important to keep in mind in case you want to mix it with something else as it could become into a very intense flavor.
*The word umami is recognized as the 5th flavor. Although it´s yet not so popular, umami is associated to the flavor of glutamates. It´s said that it adds depth to the dishes.
How to eat anchovies in Spain?
There are a million ways to eat anchovies, as we said it´s a very flavory food, and although many people don´t really like it, there are many ways of cooking anchovies and all of them taste very different. You must try them all to truly judge the anchovies from Spain. Next you will see all about how to eat anchovies:
Spanish anchovies in vinegar tapas
Eating Spanish anchovies in vinegar is probably the best way to eat anchovies in Spain. It´s a delicious dish and you will find it at every tapas bar or restaurant. These are known as “boquerones en vinagre” and they are always served as a tapa, accompanied with other tapas. (Be carefull, because you can eat many of them as they are delicious, but it contains a lot of garlic and it may not be so goof for your stomach later).
Another of the different ways to eat anchovies is known as “Salting anchovies” and in Spanish as “anchoas en salazon”. It´s probably the second most common way to eat anchovies in Spain. They are normally sold as the canned Spanish anchovies, as the process of making them is very complicated and everyone prefers to buy them at the supermarket.
How to eat canned anchoas
The most common way to eat canned anchoas or salting anchoas is with a simple slice of bread as a pincho. You will see these canned anchoas served with bread and an olive, it´s delicious. They are also very common in salads, especially in a tomato salad.
Spanish fried anchovies or “boquerones fritos”
There is nothing more typical in the summers of Spain, than going to a terrace near the beach and eat some delicious boquerones fritos. In our opinion the Spanish fried anchovies are the less intense way of making anchovies. When talking about how to eat fried anchovies, you just need to know that it´s way better if you eat it with a glass of tinto de verano or a beer.
What to make with anchovies?
Other than eating anchovies by itself as a single tapa, there are many dishes with anchovies on it as an additional ingredient to make it more delightful. Some of the different ways to use anchovies are in salads and pizzas.
Pizzas with anchovies
As we said at the beginning, the anchovies are typical from the Mediterranean area, and other than in Spain, the anchovies are very common in Italy, specially on their pizzas. Some kind of pizzas with anchovies are: The tomato-anchovies pizza and the anchovy pizza with capers (from Napoli).
Tomato salad with anchovy
Most of you probably knew that anchovies are used a lot for salads, but what you may not know is that they are very common in tomato salads in Spain. This Spanish anchovy dish is made just with tomatoes, olive oil and the anchovies on the top. Really recommend it.
Where do anchovies come from?
Although there are many areas in the world where you can find anchovies, these are normally located in template waters, they don´t like either too cold or warm temperatures. The Mediterranean ocean and the Black Sea are probably the most common area where you can see anchovies.
Enjoy the best Spanish anchovies!
That´s all you need to know about the Spanish anchovies, hope you learned all about how to eat anchovies and the different ways of eating it. Enjoy them and if you have any question or suggestion, please let us know