The best anchovies ever

torrada de anchoas, pimiento rojo asado y queso de cabra

When prepared correctly, anchovies are a taste that’s easy to acquire. -Chris Ciolli

Anchovies are a small, strongly-flavored, salt-cured fish. I adore them, but can (if somewhat begrudgingly) understand that plenty of people abhor the little stinkers.

But even people who think they can’t stand anchovies tend to like my friends Eva and Manolo’s anchovies, or as I like to refer to them, the best anchovies ever.

Even better, their recipe (for the best anchovies you’ll ever eat) is pretty simple, and can be recreated by anyone with access to quality ingredients and a little bit of patience.


anchoas en salsa Espinaler, o sea, las mejores anchoas

Anchovies in a tasty bath of vinegar and Espinaler sauce – Chris Ciolli


  • Cured anchovy filets packed in extra virgin olive oil, preferably in the refrigerated section, vacuum-packed, in jars or in shallow plastic containers, not metal cans. Italian delis, fish counters and import shops may have higher quality anchovies available than supermarkets.
  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Espinaler Sauce –should be available in specialty and import shops, especially those with a selection of products from Spain. If you can’t find it, substitute it with a two to one mixture of white vinegar and Spanish smoked paprika.


  1. Remove the anchovy filets from the olive oil and put into a shallow bowl or tupperware container.
  2. Drizzle the filets with white vinegar, cover and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Cover the filets in Espinaler Sauce.
  4. Leave covered overnight, or at least an hour, if you’re in a rush to satisfy your anchovy cravings

Serving Suggestions and Extra Tips

  • Save the olive oil the anchovies were packed in. It makes a great salad dressing with a little balsamic vinegar mixed in and it’s ideal for making homemade Caesar dressing.
  • Serve on skewers with olives and pearl onions or in a clay dish with crusty peasant bread to sop up any excess sauce.
  • Have lots of water on hand. After noshing on anchovies, I’m extra thirsty the following 12 hours or so because of the salt.
  • This is a gluten-free dish appropriate for vegetarians that eat fish.
  • This is an ideal snack to serve for a mid-morning weekend “Vermut” , the Catalan custom of  a mid-morning drink and bite, often consisting of traditional cold tapas, and vermouth with soda water. If you live in Catalunya, keep your ear to the ground. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who makes their own vermouth and it’s usually great stuff.
  • Anchovies are also great on torradas, aka, big toasted slices of bread drizzled with olive oil, rubbed with tomato and topped with local delicacies like jamón iberico and anchovies.
  • Anchovies combine really well roasted red pepper and goat cheese on a torrada, and add a nice pop of flavor to green salad, potato salad, and pasta salad.






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