People are often daunted when they see anchovies in a recipe. I’ve written a primer to help the anchovy-curious (and perhaps even anchovy-averse) to feel comfortable selecting, buying and using them.  Among the types of anchovies I recommend are whole salted anchovies. They keep fresh in the refrigerator for a long time. Using whole salted anchovies is easy.  But each time you use them, you must remove the surface salt and clean them.

When you want to use your salted whole anchovies, remove a fish or two from the jar and rinse them under cold running water. Then soak them in icy water for 10 – 15 minutes until pliable. (If the fish are still a little stiff, let them soak longer.) Dry them on a clean paper towel.

Peel apart the two fillets by running your thumb along the belly.

1 open up the salted anchovy fillet

Use your fingers to pry open the fish, remove the bone, head, tail and any tiny fins.

fingers pry open anchovy


removing the spine of the anchovy

You can keep the two fillets intact or separate them depending on how you plan on using them.

filleted whole anchovy