These little fish are marinated in acid. Which “cooks” the flesh and results in a very mild taste. Anchovies are called Alici or Acciughe in Italy, I assume the distinction is based on size, because it’s the same fish.
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- extra virgin olive oil, as needed
- 1½ cup white wine or plain white vinegar
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 4 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 2½ pound whole, fresh anchovies
Split the anchovies up the middle, gut them, and remove their heads and spines. Rinse them drain them. Spread about ½ of the onion slices onto the bottom of a 9x13 glass or ceramic baking dish. Lay the anchovies on top in as close to a single layer as possible. Combine the 1 cup vinegar and lemon juice and drizzle the mixture over the fish. Top with about ½ of the remaining onion slices. Put the remaining onions in a small bowl and pour remaining ½ cup white wine vinegar over them.
Let the fish marinate in a cool place for 4–6 hours. When the flesh of the anchovies has whitened and firmed up (the acidity will cook it) drain them and transfer them to a different bowl. Season them lightly with salt and pepper, add extra-virgin olive oil to cover, and garnish them with the remaining onion and the vinegar in the bowl. Let the fish rest for a few more hours in the fridge, and serve them as an antipasto.