Anchovies are one of my favorite Spanish foods and ingredients. I love them every way they are prepared, but I especially love boquerones fritos — crispy and delicious Spanish fried anchovies. Today David shares his classic recipe.
Southern Spain smells of one thing in summer: boquerones fritos. Plates piled high with fried anchovies emerge from tapas bar kitchens throughout Andalusia, their patrons gobbling them down whole with glee. It’s one of my favorite things to eat at any time of the year, but I have to say that they’re best when you’re on a beach, caña in hand, the hot Spanish sun beating down. To me, that’s paradise!
Anchovies… But Not Like You’re Used To
Anchovies have been eaten in Spain for thousands of years, so we’ve had plenty of time to perfect the recipe. You don’t even have to be near the coast to find them—restaurants from Madrid and out in all directions stock boquerones all year round.
But don’t let the name fool you. These aren’t the anchovies you’ve been eating on pizzas your whole life. Spanish fried anchovies are bigger, fresher, meatier, and so much tastier than that! Even if you’re the type of person who has always hated anchovies, give these boquerones fritos a try.
But outside of Spain? These big ol’ anchovies can be hard to find. Your best bet is to buy them, fresh and whole, from the fish market and fry them up at home. My recipe is for the classic whole fried anchovies you’ll find all over Spain. They’re simple, golden brown, and served with only salt and lemon.
You can plate them up as a tapas dish, an appetizer, or an easy beachside lunch!
Your Classic Spanish Fried Anchovies Recipe
Spanish Fried Anchovies - Boquerones Fritos
- 1 pound fresh anchovies whole
- 1 cup white flour
- 1 tbsp salt
- olive oil for frying
- lemon wedges to serve
- Start by cleaning and filleting the anchovies. Remove the heads, and then clean out the innards by scraping your thumb along the inside of the fish. Make sure to remove the spine. Rinse the fish in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. *In Spain, we often keep the spine in tact and eat it for the calcium and crunch. Feel free to do the same if your anchovies are small enough!
- On a large plate, combine the flour and salt and mix with your hands. One at a time, roll the anchovies in the flour mixture, coating evenly on all sides.
- Place a medium-sized skillet over medium heat and add olive oil to a depth of half an inch. Before the oil starts to smoke (when it starts to shine), start frying the anchovies a few at a time, being careful not to crowd them in the pan. Get them golden brown on each side, about 1 minute per side.
- Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Season with a pinch of sea salt and serve hot, garnished with lemon wedges.
Thanks for checking out my Spanish fried anchovies recipe! Let me know if you like it, and where you like to eat them in Spain. You can also try my delicious recipe for the Spanish anchovy skewer called the Gilda.