Boquerones en Escabeche Moorish Pickled Anchovies

This is an old, old way of preserving small fish which has survived into modern times because it is so delicious. The coast round Nerja is known for its shoals of fresh anchovies.

In Malaga the fish are pressed together into a little fan, four tails together, for frying, but this is not essential to the recipe.

  • Serves 8
  • Difficulty: intermediate


  • 2 lb. fresh anchovies, sardines or smelts.
  • 6-8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 oz. flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small pinch of spanish saffron strands
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 9 fl. oz red-wine vinegar
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced


Cut off the fish heads, pulling out their innards. Slit them down the belly, as far as the tail, and swish the insdes under a tap.

Then put each fish down on a board, black back upwards, and press a thumb firmly down on it. This opens it out like a book and makes it easy to rip out the backbone and tail.

Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a big frying pan. Dust the fish with seasoned flour on a baking tray and fry immediately you have a trayful (there will be about 4 of these).

Put them in skin-side down and turn after 1-2 minutes. Remove them to kitchen paper to drain. Take the pan off the heat between batches and add more olive oil as necessary.

Fry the garlic in the remaining olive oil, then move to a mortar or a small herb (or coffee) mill. Work to a paste with a pinch of salt, the saffron, cumin seeds and ginger. Work in the vinegar.

Arrange the fish in an earthware dish, skin up. This can be shallow if you are planning to serve them within 24 hours, but should be smalller and deeper if you want to keep them.

Mix 9 fl. oz of water into the spicy mixture and pour this over the fish. Add more vinegar and water to cover them completely if you are keeping them.

Lay the bay leaves and very thinly sliced lemon over the top. Refrigerate for half a day before eating. They can be served straight from the dish, and eaten before a week.

Best with...

Everyday Favorites Wine Collection (6 Bottles)

Everyday Favorites Wine Collection (6 Bottles)

When our family invites friends over, it is fun to offer some nice bottles of Spanish wine to share and sample! Over the years, certain bodegas and varietals have become our go-to, everyday favorites. We put them together in this collection, a tour of Spain's classic wines to share with your family and friends!

Just as each of your guests is unique, we wanted this wine sampler to represent some of Spain's finest styles. And with six new wines to discover, you are sure to find a vintage to please every palate.

The following wines are included in this wine sampler:

  • Pazo de Valei (Galicia - Albariño): Cool, misty Atlantic air rolls across the Galician countryside, making for one of the best white wine regions in all of Spain: Rias Baixas. Silky pale yellow with hues of green and gold, you’ll taste echoes of pear, peach and apple with every sip of this crisp Albariño. With a heaping bounty of seafood, this wine is a natural partner but it pairs equally well with an array of delicious tapas.
  • Lar de Paula (Rioja): This white Rioja spends one hundred days in French and American Oak. Meticulously made by a family-owned winery in the heart of Rioja Alavesa, Lar de Paula presents unexpected white wine nuances and pairs beautifully with rich, hearty foods. Clean and bright with a pale yellow color, the taste is floral and elegant, with a smooth, peachy finish. Olive oil drizzled Bonito del Norte tuna or sizzling gambas al ajillo would make charming soul mates.
  • Maragda Rosa (Emporda): As night casts its shadow over the Costa Brava, the winemakers at Mas Llunes harvest their grapes, reveling in the cool night temperatures. Weeks later when this rose wine is ready for bottling by the light of day, it is a brilliant strawberry red. Deliciously fruity with aromas of red currant, the fresh Maragda Rosa will sweep you off your feet. Pair with tapas like grilled pulpo sprinkled with smoky pimentón, paella or langostinos.
  • "G" (Somontano): Nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the town of Lagüarres, you’ll find the Secastille vineyards. The 100% old Garnacha vines are exposed to temperature extremes resulting in a thoughtful, earthy red. This fresh wine is an ideal mate to a tasty array of tapas from Spain. Enjoy with a slice of Galician bread drizzled with olive oil and slivers of jamón.
  • Buro de Peñalosa (Ribera de Duero): Mingle the heady flavors of plums and blackberries with a nuance of espresso and you’ve met Buro de Peñalosa. This lovely Tempranillo is aged in oak and hails from the acclaimed wine region of Ribera del Duero. Partner with a chocolate covered fig and you have a match made in heaven. The spicy finish also works beautifully with cured meats and aged cheeses. Salud!
  • Escudo de Plata Gran Reserva (Jumilla): The Monastrell vines rub shoulders with olive groves and almond trees in the arid climate of Jumilla, Spain where Bodegas Fernandez has been crafting fine wines since 1920. With a penetrating ruby hue, and wild cherry aromas, this Gran Reserva wine shares hints of vanilla and cedar on the palate, reminiscent of its two years in oak. This beautifully balanced wine makes a happy companion to a lusty steak, a cured Manchego and lush chocolate Rabitos from Spain.

  • Sausages of Spain Gift Basket

    Sausages of Spain Gift Basket
    Seven of Our Most Popular Sausages

    Give the traditional sausages of Spain with this hand picked assortment. This Sausages of Spain Basket includes dry-cured sausages sure to please every palate’s pleasure — from spicy and salty to mild and meaty. Take a mouthwatering voyage from the mountains of La Rioja through the semi-tropical islands of Majorca and Menorca with stops along the way in historic Old Castile and the valleys of Western Spain.

    More info