The origin of this recipe is truly ancient. The art of preserving food in brine is as old as the oldest cultures in the Spanish peninsula.

Although this recipe is originally from Malaga, it is popular all over Spain. You can find it in the bars in Bilbao as well as in Madrid. There is nothing too sophisticated about the recipe as it is nothing more than raw filets of anchovies marinated in vinegar and seasoned with oil, garlic and parsley.



Serves 4

1kg of fresh anchovies

300 ml white wine vinegar

100 ml water

4 - 5 cloves of garlic

small bunch of flatleaf parsley

1 teaspoon oregano

100 ml extra virgin olive oil

50 g salt  



  1. The anchovies must be fresh. How to clean anchovies? Remove the head, bones and guts. Pull away the head first with the spine, tearing up towards the tail. To avoid the danger of the parasite called anisakis, deep freeze the fish 48 hours below -18°C before making this recipe.
  2. Wash the fillets in water to clean all the blood. Ideally, leave them rest for half an hour in some cold water and change the water from time to time. Then drain the water.
  3. Make the brine in a separate container by mixing water, vinegar, two cloves of garlic, salt and a little bit of oregano. Stir everything so that the salt is dissolved. You can carry out the anchovy test to test if the brine is ready. Put an anchovy in the brine and if the anchovy sinks, you have to dilute more salt until the anchovy floats. The ideal ratio for the vinegar-water mixture is 80% vinegar and 20% water.
  4. Submerge the cleaned anchovies into the brine creating layers on top of each other and let marinate for at least 10 hours. It is important that they are all covered with the brine so that they are marinated equally.
  5. After 10 hours remove the white anchovies from the brine drying them carefully one by one on a paper towel.
  6. Chop finely the rest of garlic and parsley. Place the dried filets in a glass dish sprinkling the surface with the mixture of garlic and parsley and cover with extra virgin olive oil. Before serving leave in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  7. Serve anchovies with parsley and garlic and add some green olives or roasted red peppers.



Did you know, that during the 1940s, the city of Malaga was home to up to thirteen fish factories? Most were dedicated to salting sardines and very few were prepared for the production of other products.

For a long time, these factories despised the heads and entrails of anchovies and sardines but found an alternative so that they did not end up in the garbage can. The remains were used to make by-products such as guano - used to fertilize the land - and fish oil. Some commercial houses in the cosmetic sector in Malaga used this product to refine it, submit it to hydrogenation and make it suitable for the manufacture of toilet soaps.


See more recipes on JAMON.CO.UK BLOG