Teresa’s anchovies in vinegar:
“I prefer anchovies to flowers”
When I started to prepare this recipe I felt low in form and moral because I wondered who really cares about cooking today; apart from the television boom in gastronomy, it seems that every time you cook less and buy prepared food more, or you eat one of those salads that have more calories than fabada, or you leave them on weekends to eat “well” in one of those restaurants where the interest is, above all, in the “creative cuisine”, God forbid what it is !, because in reality what they offer us is a minimum portion in a “plated” restaurant a beautiful geometric composition, of parallel, symmetrical, oblique, pyramidal shapes, etc., that is supposed to capture the attention of the diner and incidentally open their appetite; However, there is little or no talk about the correct combination and preparation of products, or the importance of using a good raw material (and perhaps that is why we get so much “cat for hare”) and the interest in flavors and The smells of culinary elaborations hardly interest almost anyone. I really think my kitchen doesn’t have much room in these new trends.
I was walking with those lucubrations and I was almost about to throw my wonderful pickled anchovies in the trash, a recipe popular Andalusian that is worth a thousand times all those dishes that appear on television or that are served in “fetish” restaurants at astronomical prices, when I came across the internet with a review of the book “The Edible Atlas” (Editorial Rica, 2014) by Mina Holland, head of the gastronomic section of the prestigious British newspaper “The Guardian. The author just presented her book, noting that the leit motif of his kitchen is: “Delve into the richness of geography and the history of cooking “to “claim homemade food, which interests you much more that the pomp that surrounds the world of haute cuisine right now; and thus, in the epigraph of this gastronomy treatise, he summarizes his culinary philosophy paraphrasing a Japanese proverb: “I’d rather have dumplings than flowers”(That is, against the design kitchen I prefer home cooking and popular; this has resulted in:” I prefer meatballs to flowers “). With this book winner of the prize for the best cookbook in the contest Gourman Wold Cookbook Awards from 2015 Holland She has become one of the UK’s most promising gastronomic literature writers; The book, recently translated into Spanish, is more than a gastronomy book, it is a literary delight, an entertainment book where history, literature and all kinds of autobiographical anecdotes about the author’s experiences with 39 kitchens are mixed of all the world. I recommend it to you.
The truth is that after seeing the culinary ideas of this author, with whom I totally identify, I thought to offer you, with great enthusiasm, “Teresa’s anchovies in vinegar”, a recipe popular Andalusian that is worth a thousand times all those dishes that appear on television or that are served in “fetish” restaurants at astronomical prices, and I also contributed another version of the Japanese aphorism with: “I prefer anchovies to flowers”, of course, I am delighted to invite you to a recipe that keeps the essence of Andalusian cuisine and that tells us much more about its culture than many brainy anthropological studies and ethnographic.
Anchovies in vinegar are a typical dish of Sephardic gastronomy. The information I provide is taken from the History of Sephardic Cuisine by Pepe Iglesias. We all know that the Sephardim were the Jews expelled by the Catholic Monarchs from the Peninsula. But before this date, this community, whose settlement in the Peninsula predated the Romans, coexisted peacefully with them and later with Visigoth and Christian kings, even occupying important positions in the administration and society of the time. They were industrious and cultured people who treasured wealth and wisdom; which earned them the hatred of the common people and later of their leaders. In 1311 there was a terrible massacre of Sephardim in the city of Seville, which devastated a part of the Sevillian Jewish quarter. Apart from envy for its prosperity, this community never became integrated into the Christian world and its way of life was marked by its religious celebrations as Rosh Hashana, the New Year, the Yom kippur, day of forgiveness, or Pesha, Easter.
It is interesting to observe the influence of these on Sephardic cuisine, rigidly regulated in the Kashrut, sacred book that stipulated what you could eat. Among these regulations was the custom of eating fish on Fridays, and from there emerged an important gastronomy that had to do with the methods of preserving fish (salted, smoked, pickled, pickled, vinegar, etc.). From this delay the “anchovies in vinegar” arose since at that time the fish did not arrive fresh on the table. Según the History of Gastronomy on the internet: “It goes without saying that the sanctity of this dish lies in how traditional and tasty it is in our classic appetizers, that very Spanish way of eating that, with the name of” tapas “, begins to go around the world, and whose historical origin, are the mezzés Sephardim of Andalusia.
Personally, I knew the recipe for “anchovies in vinegar” when I arrived in Granada, because in my town what was there was “bocarte”, a blue fish from the same family as anchovies, but not exactly the same. I have already told you about my girl, Teresa, who was one of the best cooks in Andalusian cuisine and, especially, about some Sephardic dishes like “anchovies in vinegar”. TO Sometimes, I think that the reason for his mastery could be attributed to the fact that his family had always lived in the Jewish neighborhood of Granada, the Realejo.
Shortly after being with us, one day he told me: “I am going to leave you some anchovies in vinegar for the weekend and that way you will have less to cook.” I, who at that time, was always very burdened with work, I really thanked him and asked him what anchovies he should buy; And there came the best or worst of the anchovies, because for years the purchase of anchovies became a real nightmare. According to Teresa, they should be: “from Cádiz, I would not buy them from those in Rincón de la Victoria in Málaga, who, although they earn the best for frying, did not” do well “in vinegar; furthermore, I had to make sure that they were smooth and Very cool, they were silver and their size was exactly that of his hand. The truth is that it did not matter how he bought them because he was never right, he always came out with the same “catalineta” (a word from his particular lexicon): “But I did not tell her they were for fries and these anchovies are the size of a red mullet “!; or” they have tricked her again and gave her whitebait. “Fortunately, I attributed my mental” disembodiment “not to chivalry books but to those of my oppositions. Well, in the end, I became an expert in anchovies in vinegar, and I assure you that you will not find a better recipe than this.
1/2 kilo of anchovies cleaned by the fishmonger; the anchovies must have the characteristics that I have mentioned before (size, color and texture)
1/2 lemon squeezed
3 or 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a tablespoon and a half of salt
half a glass of water
half a glass of sherry white vinegar water
1. Even if you buy the anchovies already clean (today they are cleaned in any fish shop), you will have to put them in cold water and remove a small red casing that they generally do not extract in the fish shops:
2. Once completely clean, you must pass them through at least four or five waters, so that they are whitened:
3. But, according to Teresa, the secret of her anchovies, the best in the world, was that you had to let a small stream of tap water run over the anchovies for at least 10 minutes. To me this operation of letting the water run made me nervous, because I cannot bear to waste the water, thinking of the countries where they do not have a drop of water. In the photo below you see the trickle that runs and so you leave it for about 10 minutes, which seemed eternal to me:
4. The truth is that after this operation the whiteness and smoothness of the anchovy is incredible and truly differentiates a dry anchovy
of a spectacular anchovy.
5. Now we can “cure” them in vinegar, pouring them into a bowl with half a squeezed lemon to make them even whiter, a good tablespoon of salt to harden them, half a glass of water and half a glass of white vinegar and sherry.
6. There you have them ready to put them in the fridge and cure them for 8 hours or a whole day:
7. Once cured, and WITHOUT GOING THROUGH WATER, drain well and dry with a cloth or kitchen paper and place them in a dish prepared to put in the freezer for three or four days, or until you go to serve them. Formerly, they dressed immediately, but now with the dread of the anisaquis we must put them in the freezer.
8. I put them in the freezer in the same source where later I will take them to the table covered with transparent paper, to manipulate them as little as possible. Notice how white they are:
9. After a few days or simply when you decide to serve them, I season them with a wonderful extra virgin olive oil and on top I add the garlic and parsley, finely chopped, but not tiny, because some diners do not like garlic and can separate it better :
10. And here are Teresa’s unrivaled anchovies, undoubtedly one of the best in Andalusia:
BON APPÉTIT AND GOOD LUCK !!!!!!!!!!