Forget about those preserved anchovies that you find in cans or jars – loaded with salt and lacking flavor! Fresh anchovies (alici or asciughe in Italian) are the only way to go! They’re not only delicious, they’re one of the most healthy fish that you can eat.
In fact, anchovies rate as one of the top five fish that are loaded with high amounts of healthy Omega 3. And since they’re near the bottom of the food chain, mercury levels are not an issue. Super!
In Italy, particularly near the coast, you’ll often find anchovies served fried, as an appetizer, or baked as a main dish. Yum!
There are countless ways to prepare them, of course, but here is one of my favorite recipes. (My husband loves them fixed this way!)
- 1 pound fresh anchovies – heads-off, cleaned and thoroughly rinsed (here in Italy, they’ll clean them for you at the fish counter)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed
- Sea salt
- Black pepper, freshly ground
Coat the bottom of a baking dish (I prefer glass) with the olive oil. Lay the anchovies in the pan, in little rows. Drizzle with the lemon juice and vinegar, then sprinkle with sea salt and capers. Coat liberally with fresh ground black pepper.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. The anchovies should be golden brown on top and the liquid should be completely reduced.
Enjoy with a chilled glass of sparkling white wine, like Prosecco. Buon appetito!
Pamela Haack is an Italy travel consultant and author of Off the Beaten Strada: Top 10 Favorite Etruscan Sites. She specializes in creating group trips and personalized experiences for travelers who enjoy active vacations in Italy – off the beaten strada.
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