Vope con Patate

Bogue (or Anchovies, Sprats) with Potatoes

Ingredients

  • ½ kg (1 lb 2 oz) of vope, cleaned, scaled, fins snipped off say, 8 small waxy new potatoes, sliced ½ cm thick olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 little grated nutmeg
  • 2 small glasses of white wine and 2 of water

Method

Pour a little oil on the bottom of a wide pan, put in the sliced potatoes, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and a little grated nutmeg, and pour over them a few drops of oil. Place the cleaned vope on top. Sprinkle a little more oil on the fish, salt and pepper, then pour in the wine and water. Cover the pan and set on a low heat.

In 10 minutes or so the potatoes are tender, most of the liquor has been absorbed and the fish are cooked but unbroken. The sign is that their protuberant eyes are white.

Anchovies and very small mackerel can be cooked in the same way. The best vope come from Italy’s Land’s End, Santa Maria di Leuca, once the sanctuary of the White Goddess. For ‘the most comprehensive and inspired account’ of this Divine Being et seq in The White Goddess of Robert Graves. Divinity has many aspects; in one of them she is Io, the Moon Cow, and gave her name to the Ionian Sea.