Wednesday, 3 December 2008

boquerones: marinated white anchovies

I first tried boquerones at a Spanish Chamber of Commerce lunch in 2005. I couldn’t believe how good they were and I was over the moon to discover my local deli selling them in bulk.

They have everything I adore: extreme sourness and a salty yet moreishly clean aftertaste. Paired with thinly shaved garlic and fresh parsley, I could eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner and I'm always recommending them to friends who seem disdainful and then develop their own addictions.

This particular recipe for boquerones comes from MoVida, a cookbook from the Spanish restaurant of the same name in Melbourne. This restaurant is probably the forefront of modern Spanish cuisine in Australia and the recent addition of a sherry bar only boosts their reputation.

One of the 2008 Food Challenges I set myself was to cook from a few cookbooks and MoVida was one of them (I’m really having to hammer through these 2008 Food Challenges because 2008 is almost over).

MoVida’s cookbook is inspiring because I’ve eaten there before and I know how good this food can be. Now that Camorra has shared his secrets I’m keen to try some others such as:
*Deep-fried Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Salt Cod
*Ajo Blanco with Grape Granita
*Skate with Hazelnuts and Lemon
*Canary Islands Salted Potatoes
*Roast Pork Belly with Quince Alioili
*Pan de Higos (chocolate and fig bread)

But for now, here is an exquisite recipe for exquisite boquerones.

Boquerones en Vinagre (Marinated White Anchovies)

Recipe from MoVida by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish. Serves 12 for tapas.


500g jar pickled Spanish white anchovies, drained
1 white salad onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 handful flat-leaf parsley
150ml extra virgin olive oil
150ml white wine vinegar


1. Lay the anchovies flat in a glass or ceramic dish (metal bowls will react with the marinade)

2. Put the sliced onion and garlic on top of the anchovies.

3. Pick the parsley leaves off the stem and sprinkle over onion.

4. Vigorously combine the olive oil and vinegar and pour over anchovies.

5. Refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled.

If these boquerones take your fancy (can’t see why they wouldn’t) then you should proceed to making the Basque pintxos called Gildas: pieces of palm heart, tomato, olives and rolled boquerones served on skewers. And MoVida’s cookbook includes a recipe for Gildas too.



  1. If you challenged me to try those, I'd have to close my eyes. I guess they don't look appealing to me since the only small seafood I ate growing up was shrimp, and they're pretty and pink. But these anchovies look slimy and grey. I'm guessing they're "shiny" from the oil, but my initial reaction is slime, sorry. I'd still try one, but only with closed eyes 8^)

  2. Us Greeks also marinade fresh anchovies and it's a favourite meze, served with Ouzo or Tsipouro (eau de vie)...luv it!

  3. shreela - yes, they are a bit slimey but the flavour explosion overpowers that almost instantly.

    peter - i saw a great greek recipe for seafood cooked with ouzo recently. actually, was it on your blog?

  4. Some boquerones are way too salty or have too much vinegar and not enough olive oil. Benfumat's have the perfect balance between the three. Typically boquerones are served draped over a thin slice of baguette or rolled around an olive. They are also great laid on top of a salad of fresh tomatoes or greens, and are a wonderful accompaniment to any dish that could use a bit of tangy, salty goodness.
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  5. I make my own white anchovies from scratch. Then I marinate them several different ways! There's not anything slimy about these. Just great flavor. For those of you that are bold, be daring...try something new!


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