Anchovy & Potato Pancake

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

  • About

The Italian name for this dish is tortino di alici e patate, somehow less prosaic than the English translation and closer in feeling to its subtle tastes and melting textures.

This is to be cooked when you can lay your hands on fresh anchovies. The next best alternative is to use the lightly brined Spanish anchovy fillets called bochorones. Salted and tinned anchovy fillets in oil may be substituted, but the character of the dish is then profoundly changed and you will need to use less salt when seasoning.

Boning fresh anchovies is not difficult and you use the same technique as for a herring. Indeed, you could use sprats - baby herring - as an alternative. Having gutted and rinsed them, press the back with your thumb along the length of the backbone to detach it from the flesh. Cut through at the head and tail and gently pull the fillets away from the backbone. If your fishmonger loves you, get him to do it.


  • 550 g/ lb large double anchovy fillets
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 55 g/2 oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 heaped tsp fresh oregano or 1 level tsp dry
  • 450 g/1 lb potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon, to serve



Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas6. If using brined anchovies, rinse them and then pat dry.

Chop the garlic and mix with the parsley, breadcrumbs and oregano. Peel the potatoes and slice paper-thin on a mandoline grater.

Brush a non-stick ovenproof frying pan with a little olive oil and lay the potatoes overlapping to line the pan.

Arrange the anchovies on top radially like the spokes of a wheel. Season with salt and pepper, then cover with the breadcrumb mixture and moisten with the remaining olive oil. If using tinned anchovy fillets, then use less salt.


Start the potatoes cooking on the hob over a medium heat for about 2 minutes, then transfer to the oven and bake for 20—30 minutes, until the surface is brown and the potato base has shrunk away from the sides.


Slide the pancake out of the pan and on to a cutting board. Cut in wedges and serve warm, with a lemon wedge on the side.

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