This dish – Boquerones en vinagre – is a popular tapa served in southern Spain in restaurants and bars. It’s more elaborate than some of the other tapas dishes we have in our selection and takes more time to prepare, but principally because you have to allow time to marinate the anchovies. The result – something quite fresh and unexpected. The anchovies are raw but having been marinated in vinegar for several hours, not only do the fillets change colour from red to a nice creamy white, but they also take on a huge amount of flavour.
As the anchovies are being consumed raw, it’s important to be aware of the health risks associated with eating raw seafood and in particular of Anisakis, a parasitic worm. Indeed in Spain, the law requires that anchovies prepared in vinegar should be frozen first prior to preparation, a process which kills the parasite. So, when buying your fresh anchovies, first gut and fillet them and then freeze (officially advised at -20° C for seven days) prior to marinating.Print
Marinated Anchovies with Alioli and Quail Eggs
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 8 hours
- Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
- Cuisine: Tapas
- 500g of fresh anchovies
- 1–2 cloves of garlic
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 500ml white wine vinegar
- 200ml extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- 4 slices of bread
- 30g alioli
- 1 bunch of coriander
- 8 hard-boiled quail’s eggs
- Remove the spine, head and guts of the anchovies. Wash and then leave for 15 minutes in very cold water (you can always add some ice cubes), to allow any blood and other bits to wash off.
- In a container (don’t use metal as the vinegar can damage it), assemble layers of the anchovies – adding a pinch of salt in between each layer. If your container is big enough or you only doing a few anchovies, then there is no need to layer them. However given the amount time required for this dish, it would be worth doing a few extra so that you can enjoy them at more than just one sitting.
- Cover the anchovies in a mixture of approximately 80% vinegar, 20% water and leave for about 6 hours. If the anchovies are particularly big, you may want to leave for an extra couple of hours. If you have varying sizes, then its best to split them up into two separate containers otherwise you’ll either find the smaller ones will be too dry or the larger ones will be too raw. You’ll know when they are done by their colour and texture of the flesh – it will be white, firm and starting to separate.
- Drain well and clean your container and then reassemble your layers again. Add pieces of chopped garlic and parsley to the top layer. Don’t chop the garlic too small as otherwise when it comes to removing the anchovies at the end, you’ll find it hard to separate them from the garlic. This time, cover with olive oil and then leave them to marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours. The longer you can leave them the more flavour they will take on, so if you can, try and leave overnight.
- Take from the fridge and then remove from the oil marinade. Either put them in a tupperware container to store or serve immediately.
- Serve on toast, spread with garlic mayonnaise (Alioli) together with fresh coriander leaves and hardboiled quail’s eggs.