Silver, slender salty little fish found mainly around the Black Sea and the Pacific and Atlantic, as well as the Mediterranean, where the best are thought to come from. They’re generally around 8-10cm long and, as their delicate flavour doesn’t last long after they’re caught, they are rarely exported fresh. Instead, they’re filleted, salt-cured and packed in oil or salt (these are particularly flavourful) in tins or jars. Preserved that way, they take on an intense but sophisticated fish flavour and are a great store cupboard standby.

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