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Cold-Smoking & Salt-Curing Meat, Fish, & Game

Cold-Smoking & Salt-Curing Meat, Fish, & Game

By A D Livingston

Published 2010

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If you’ve got real anchovies, you’re in business. Also, such finger fish as smelts, shiners, and sand lances will do. If the fish are 4 inches or less, behead and gut them. If they are larger, fillet them. Even small bluegills can be used if they are filleted and perhaps cut into strips to resemble canned anchovies.

Clean and wash the fish according to size. Pat the fish dry. Sterilize some jars with canning lids. Cover the bottom of each jar with a little salt. Add a layer of fish, sprinkling the body cavity of each one with salt as you go. Add a layer of salt, a layer of fish, and so on, packing lightly as you go and ending with a layer of salt. A top space of about ½ inch should be left in each jar. Weight the anchovies with a slightly smaller jar (or other suitable nonmetallic container) that has been filled with water. Put the packed jar (with the weighted jar in place) in a cool place for a week or so. When ready, remove the weighted jar or container. By now, a brine will completely cover the fish. (Fatty fish such as echelon may develop a layer of oil on the surface. Skim this off if you choose.) Seal the jars and store them in the refrigerator. They will keep for a year or longer.

Before serving these in Greek Salads and other raw dishes that call for canned anchovies, I like to remove the fish from the brine, rinse them, pat them dry, and dip them in olive oil. Note that the salt will have softened the small bones in the fillets. Whole fish should be boned, which is easily accomplished by spreading the body cavity, pulling off one side, and lifting out the backbone.