Boquerones: Spanish Food Recipe

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Boquerones are small, fresh anchovies. Accompanied by crisp, fresh Spanish bread, a glass of ruby-red wine or refreshing Asturian cider, they are a delight to eat.

Methods for preparing boquerones tend to vary slightly. However, the basic principles are always the same. You first have to clean and fillet the fish, which is simple enough, but rather tedious until you get the hang of it.

Next, you soak the fillets, either in white wine vinegar or a mixture of half vinegar and half water. The vinegar will clean and bleach the fish and also soften any remaining little bones. Some people sprinkle the fish with salt; others feel that the fish is salty enough already. The fish has to be left for a good few hours soaking in the vinegar. Again, this tends to vary, with some Spaniards leaving them overnight in the fridge and others just waiting a couple of hours. Also, some change the vinegar/water-and-vinegar mixture once during this process, whilst others donĀ“t bother.

Once you have thrown away the vinegar, the bleached fillets are covered with a good quality virgin olive oil, which will preserve them. You can add as much, or as little, sliced garlic as you wish, plus freshly chopped parsley.

Here is the actual recipe:

Ingredients:

* 1 kilo fresh anchovies.
* White wine vinegar.
* Virgin olive oil.
* Garlic.
* Parsley.
* Salt (optional).

Method:

1. Top and tail anchovies.
2. Slit along underside and discard innards.
3. Open out fish.
4. Remove central bone by lifting from tail end upwards.
5. Rinse well.
6. Place a layer of anchovy fillets in a shallow dish.
7. Sprinkle with salt (optional) and pour on plenty of vinegar.
8. Repeat with another layer, changing direction.
9. Leave to soak in vinegar for a few hours or overnight.
10. Pour off vinegar.
11. Very gently rinse fillets.
12. Cover fillets in virgin olive oil.
13. Add slices of garlic and chopped parsley.

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