fresh anchovies

Anchovies and other small fish that are longer than 3 inches should be cleaned. They are cleaned and filleted by hand because they have very soft meat. Using your fingers is the most gentle way to get rid of their heads, guts and bones.

To make this an easier experience for you, we have created this simple step-by-step visual guide along with a few of our top tips.

TIP: If you don't like the smell of anchovies on your hands, wear protective kitchen gloves. To get rid of the smell after cleaning the fish, you can carefully rub your hands on anything made of stainless steel. This method also works when working with garlic, onion or shrimps.   

How to Clean Fresh Anchovies



1. Rinse the fish in cold water.   

2. Hold the anchovy body in one hand between your thumb and forefinger near the head. With your other hand, grab the head between your thumb and forefinger and, with a gentle downward motion, tear off the head and pull out most of the guts.


anchovy 2


3. Then slip the belly and remove the remaining guts and rinse the fish.


anchovy 3


4. To get the fillet of the anchovy, flatten the fish. 


anchovy 4


5. Gently remove the spine, the dorsal fin and the tail.  You will be left with a lovely fillet of an anchovy to use for your recipe.

For anchovy recipe inspiration visit our blog.


anchovy 5
anchovy fillet


Anchovies are smaller than sardines and have finer meat. Both fish belong to the category of so-called "blue fish" with a strong taste and a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids.

The most common form of anchovies are tinned anchovies that are usually salted fillets preserved in oil. Sardines are often tinned after being preserved in olive oil. 

If you visit Spain in summer, don't forget to taste some freshly baked sardines on an open fire with, sprinkled with some sea salt flakes. You can also go for the home oven option. On the other hand, anchovies are most often fried.

sardines with seasalt

Whole sardines BBQ & served with sea salt flakes