Fried Anchovies

Tiny fish such as anchovies make for a sumptuous, quick tapas dish. The batter is light and crispy, while the fish inside remains tender and succulent.

Fried Anchovies

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serves 4 as a tapas or appetizer


  • 1 pound whole fresh, or cleaned and marinated anchovies (not the salted or tinned variety)
  • 2 cup olive oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • cherry tomatoes, as needed
  • crusty bread
  • extra virgin olive oil, for dipping bread, optional


If you are using whole, fresh anchovies you must clean them first. Pull off the heads and pull out the insides. Then rinse with clean water.

Pour the olive oil into a small deep saucepan set over heat. Use a deep fry thermometer to monitor the heat.

Meanwhile, add the eggs to a small bowl and beat until well mixed. Add the flour, cayenne, salt and black pepper to a shallow bowl, use a fork to mix the ingredients together. Dip the fish one at a time into the beaten eggs and then roll it in flour.

When the oil reaches 365 degrees F. fry the fish a few at a time, rolling them around in the oil to assure even cooking until they are golden brown (about 5–8 minutes). Serve with crusty bread, extra-virgin olive oil for dipping the bread (optional) and tomatoes.