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.
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.
This attractive tin of saffron contains 28 times as much as our smaller saffron jar at a great price.
This saffron is the highest quality saffron available, therefore it has almost twice the strength of many other brands of saffron. It is harvested in the sunny gardens of La Mancha, the native land of Don Quixote. The flowers of a particular strain of crocus are picked individually and peeled by hand to reveal the delicate stigma that are then sorted by size and color before they are toasted. The result of this labor-intensive process is a most extraordinary and exotic condiment; ideal for preparing traditional Spanish dishes such as paella and saffron rice.
This, the most precious of all spices, is used in many international recipes. It will add the final touch of authenticity to your paella or arroz a banda.