The Boquerones en Vinagre, which means Anchovies in Vinegar, is a type of appetizer that had its origins in Southern Spain, also known as Andalusía. Different historians agree that the origin of the anchovies in vinegar dates back to the 8th century, which means that they have existed for more than 3000 years!
In the present days, anchovies in vinegar are the ideal appetizer for these summer days. If you are walking on the streets of Spain, you are probably going to find multiple groups of friends sharing a plate of Spanish snacks with a cold beer!
If you love Spanish cuisine, then here’s a list of the best Andalusian foods to try, when traveling to Spain!
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Step by Step instructions
To make this Boquerones recipe you will need:
- 500 grams of anchovies
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- The first thing you need to do is clean the anchovies, some stores sell them already clean, so if you feel intimidated by this step you should definitely buy them clean. But if you want to clean them yourself here’s how you clean the raw fish: Remove the head of the anchovy, most of the guts and organs should leave the body at this point, then Insert your thumb into the anchovy belly and separate the spine from the body. After that remove carefully any type of gut or part of the spine that might remain on the anchovy.
- Once that you have the meat of the anchovy clean you have to wash with abundant water and rinse the anchovies, you can also place them on a bowl with ice cubes for 10 minutes so the meat will be more white (which translated into a better texture)
- After drying them, (you can also dry them with a clean kitchen towel), place the anchovies right next to each other on a large bowl with the skin facing the bottom of the bowl or plate.
- Fill the bowl with enough vinegar to cover completely the anchovies. This way the anchovies will marinate, and the vinegar will interact with the acids of the anchovy’s fat, and as a result, the flavors will be enhanced. If you don’t want a strong vinegar flavor you can make a mixture of ⅔ of vinegar and ⅓ of cold water, this way you’ll get a soft vinegar taste.
- Let it rest on the fridge for at least 5 hours, if you made the water and vinegar mixture then let it rest for 6 hours. You can let them marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours!
- Wash with abundant water and rinse the anchovies to remove any excess vinegar. To avoid any bacteria risk (Anisakiasis bacteria to be more specific), place the marinated anchovies on a Tupper with their skin facing the bottom of it, cover them with oil and freeze them for 48 hours to the lowest temperature possible.
- After that, put them on the fridge so they will slowly defrost, once that they unfreeze they will be ready for the garlic and parsley!
- Chop very thinly garlic cloves and the parsley, then mix them with 4 tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt.
- Throw away the oil that was frozen with the anchovies and on a large plate put the anchovies next to each other, then brush them with the garlic and parsley mixture.
- And that’s it, your anchovy appetizer is done! You can store it on the fridge for up to three weeks, just make sure to cover the plate or Tupper.
Substitution of ingredients
In case you don’t like anchovies, or if you are vegetarian or vegan, but you still want to enjoy typical Spanish dishes there is a special version for you!
To make a Vegan version of anchovies in vinegar you have to replace the anchovies for zucchini (or other similar vegetables of your choice), then peel it, cut it into strips (discard the seeds), and place them on a large bowl with enough vinegar to cover all the zucchini pieces (about 200ml of vinegar), then let it rest for 4 hours or overnight.
If you want it to taste more like seafood you just need to add seaweed nori to the previous mixture.
Once the time has passed, you have to strain the zucchini and wash it so it won’t have such a strong vinegar taste, then add two tablespoons of oil, garlic, and parsley and that’s it! You can keep it up to 3 days in the fridge.
Another substitution that you can make is to skip the parsley or garlic if you don’t like them, but I wouldn’t recommend it since they add an amazing flavor to these Spanish anchovies.
Tips on Serving
In Spain anchovies in vinegar are commonly served as a Tapas, but what does that mean? Basically it means that they are often served on top of toasted bread.
I recommend you brush a slice of bread with extra virgin olive oil, then toast it and put the anchovies on top, if you choose to not toast the bread you will still get a delicious appetizer!
Some people also serve them with olives, caramelized onions, or even dried tomatoes, either way, you can go wrong with this Boquerones Tapas!
For other delicious traditional dishes, check out our guide on what to eat in Cordoba, Spain.
Tips on Storage
To store your anchovies appetizer you can place them in a bowl and cover it for 3 weeks, but check on them often to make sure that they aren’t dry, so you should spread olive oil on your anchovies at least 4 days a week.
You can also divide the anchovies into different portions and freeze them with oil (already cleaned but without the oil, garlic, and parsley) for one month, when you want to eat them just take them out of the freezer and let them unfreeze, then add the oil, garlic, and parsley.
Don’t worry! They will still taste delicious and you won’t have to worry about any bacteria.
Boquerones en vinagre – Recipe Card
- 500 grams of fresh anchovies
- 250ml of vinegar (of your choice, white, apple, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil (extra virgin oil preferred)
- 4 garlic cloves
- Chopped parsley (to taste)
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- Place the anchovies on a large bowl and rinse it with water.
- With a sharp knife cut off the head of the anchovies. Most of the organs should come out alongside the head.
- After that cut the anchovies in half and remove the rest of the organs with the spine.
- Spread the anchovies, rinse them and place them in an inoxidable bowl (it could also be a ceramic or clay bowl).
- Dissolve the salt on the vinegar, then cover the anchovies with that mixture.
- Cover the bowl (with a kitchen towel, plastic wrap, etc.) and let it rest on the fridge for 5 hours up to 24 hours.
- Once the time has passed, rinse the anchovies with water and clean them with a clean kitchen towel.
- After cleaning the anchovies, put them in the freezer for at least 48 hours to prevent any bacteria risk (especially the anisakis).
- Cover the anchovies with olive oil, garlic, and parsley and if you want to use a small plate you can place the anchovies on top of each other.
You can store the anchovies in vinegar for up to 3 weeks, but make sure that they are always covered in olive oil to keep them in a good condition. If you don’t want the vinegar taste to be too strong, you can mix ⅔ of vinegar with ⅓ of water and use that mixture to marinate the anchovies.
Amount Per Serving Calories 319Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 100mgSodium 1587mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 34g
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