19 Oct2014

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Salted, vinegar-bathed, then olive oil soaked anchovy fillets. Think long soaked kinilaw na dills. They make for an EXCELLENT tapas dish, and as I will show in other posts up soon, are useful in other dishes as well. I have NOT always enjoyed anchovies, and the pungent dark tinned variety have not been my favorite, though I have taken to them in recent years. But the first time I had a “fresh” (they’re not literally fresh, rather freshly made) or white anchovy fillet, I immediately fell in love with them. Oddly, I never ever attempted to make them at home. So for a first time experiment, I have to say, these were a home cook’s equivalent of a slam dunk!

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First, get your hands on some really fresh dills, in this case, this unusual variety with translucent “skins” that make them appear “naked”… These were several hours old, but I took a chance on them anyway, figuring at PHP199 a kilo at S&R (where I rarely buy seafood because of the prices) and perhaps just PHP120 at the markets, this was a less costly experiment should it fail miserably. The cost of the dills was minor compared to the labor needed to fillet and clean these fish! Thank goodness the cook and one other crew member had the knowledge and patience to do this (it took some 25-30 minutes for a kilo of fish) or I would have fried the darned things!

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You have to debone the fish, remove its guts and head and trim them with a knife to make the filets look nice and tidy. Some websites suggest that some varieties of anchovies can have a kind of poison or bacteria in them, so it’s advisable to first FREEZE the fillets before continuing on with the salting and marination. I took my chances and didn’t freeze these fish, we just cleaned them well, rinsed them and went on with the process…

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Cleaning wasn’t difficult, just tedious.

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We placed the fillets in little clay cazuelas or tapas dishes and sprinkled them very liberally with natural sea salt with no iodine added. Layer the fish fillets with salt in-between.

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One kilo of fish yielded three small dishes of fillets. Wrap this with plastic wrap, place them in the fridge and let them exude some of the liquid from the fillets, making them firmer. I did this for 4 hours, but would recommend you do it for say 2.5-3.0 hours instead. That will avoid overly salty fillets and a texture somewhere between really fresh but soft, almost mushy consistency, and the firmer version in the photo up top.

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Drain from the salt bath and rinse quickly. Add enough good vinegar to cover the fillets and let this marinate for another 4-5 hours or so. If you don’t want them too vinegar-y, then marinate for less time. Drain the vinegar out and cover the fillets with good olive oil and add minced garlic and or chopped parsley or even chili flakes if you desire. The results? Brilliant. Really good, for something so easy to make (except for prepping the fish!)…

Served on slices of toasted baguette, along with a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley, this was a WONDERFUL mouthful of homemade goodness. The texture was firm, the fish salty but balanced out by the flavor of special sherry vinegar from Jerez. Now if only I found this variety of dilis in the markets more often, I would have a stash of these boquerones in the fridge all of the time!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. kittel says:

    One of my earliest memories include removing the bones and the guts of this fish to make kinilaw, and they are indeed labor intensive. I would usually soak them directly in vinegar and wait until they are opaque before deboning, some how it becomes a little easier to clean. I’ll try your recipe the next time I find them in the market!

    Oct 19, 2014 | 9:55 pm

     
  2. diz says:

    We miss you MM!

    Oct 20, 2014 | 3:46 am

     
  3. Cherryl says:

    How i missed reading your posts! The stories behind each picture takes me home and brings me to another place. My escape on a Sunday afternoon. Keep on posting MM!

    Oct 20, 2014 | 5:55 am

     
  4. ami says:

    Oh wow, I thought the fishes were skinned. First time I’ve seen transparent varieties.

    On an unrelated note, you might be interested in the Likhang Habi Bazaar in Glorietta Activity Center from October 24-26 which showcases native woven products. Might be a good place to pick up table mats or runners that you can use in your pictures.

    Oct 20, 2014 | 8:14 am

     
  5. Marketman says:

    ami, yes, I read about that bazaar, but unfortunately I am out of town that weekend, so I will miss it.

    Oct 20, 2014 | 8:42 am

     
  6. Peach says:

    My gosh those look really good!!!! Seems simple enough to make, but I wish I can buy deboned anchovies :P

    Oct 20, 2014 | 10:47 am

     
  7. millet says:

    my mom says this type is called “twakang” in tagalog, and when very fresh, we like them as kinilaw, or as pakswi na may gata. to do this, wrap a strip of wilted banana leaf or a turmeric (luyang diaw – my favorite) leaf around 4 or 5 pieces of twakang; do the same for the rest of the fish, layer them in a pot and cook paksiw-style with vinegar, ginger, salt, pepper. bring to a gentle simmer, and then when the vinegar has boiled off its raw vinegar taste, pour in some coconut cream and let it simmer for a few minutes till the flavors blend. the key is to keep the fire very low.

    Oct 20, 2014 | 10:52 am

     
  8. Kasseopeia says:

    I would usually do the salting first before deboning. For some reason, they feel easier to debone after they have been salted and rinsed. I do not do the freezing step either.

    I usually use white or red wine vinegar for the soaking. To flavor the EVOO, I use minced garlic + chopped parsley + crushed red pepper flake + a very very small amount of chopped mint (about 3-4 leaves per 500 grams of cleaned fillets).

    Served with baguette rounds (as you did) and a couple of glasses (or more!) of wine – this is PERFECT chill-out food.

    Oct 20, 2014 | 1:32 pm

     
  9. millet says:

    ..and I had some great boquerones last week with loneygirl at Bar 21 in Bacolod!

    Oct 20, 2014 | 1:50 pm

     
  10. Toping says:

    In our part of Leyte we call these fish “libgaw” and they are indeed seasonal. If it is indeed that time of year, I will be keeping my eyes peeled for these, to hell with the hypertension. ;-p

    Oct 20, 2014 | 2:58 pm

     
  11. Lee says:

    boquerones is the dish that cleanses the palate and the conscience after partaking of 21’s marrow-rich batchoy and fried isol.

    Oct 22, 2014 | 9:11 am

     
  12. Marketman says:

    Lee, OMG, I still dream about the fried isol at 21. Amazing stuff.

    Oct 22, 2014 | 4:47 pm

     
  13. Betchay says:

    @millet: we also call this “twakang”. Some suki vendors will do the deboning when not busy. We also fry this tempura style.

    Oct 22, 2014 | 9:28 pm

     
  14. armando says:

    looks really good with twakang but is it possible also with dulong?

    Dec 30, 2014 | 7:30 am

     
  15. Marketman says:

    armando, I have never tried this treatment with dulong, though it’s probably worth the effort and cost for a small batch. I do have other dulong recipes that involve cooking the fish, however, please check archives. Thanks.

    Dec 30, 2014 | 8:05 am

     
 

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