White Anchovies- Sustainable Silver Bullets

White Anchovies with Dates and Capers

White Anchovies with Dates and Capers. Did you go yum or yuck? People are so funny about anchovies. And whether you love anchovies or hate them, it might come as a surprise that they weren’t born in that oily little tin can wrapped around a caper! Don’t get me wrong– I love anchovies and their big salty flavor, so reminiscent of the ocean. Whether strewn on pizza, laid across toast or used as an ingredient in other dishes, I’m a huge fan of this little fish.

Still, for many folks salt-cured anchovies are just too salty. But there are other ways to enjoy their omega‑3 friendly fats. I think anchovy fishaphobes would be surprised by the mild flavor and full health benefits of white anchovies.

White Anchovies

White anchovies start out no different than any other type of anchovy. They come fresh from the sea as bright shiny silver bullets. Once they have been gutted, they can be marinated in lemon juice and vinegar from four hours to as much as a week. The acid in the marinade “cooks” the flesh, turning it white. Hence the name white anchovy. At this point they’re stored in extra-virgin olive oil waiting for the hungry masses to scoop them up. I’ve used them here with dates and capers to make a terribly chic, sweet and salty, rich and toasty little appetizer– but they’re also just the right flash of fun served alone with a glass of wine and some crusty bread.

You can make your own white anchovies, though fresh anchovies are very seasonal and not always easy to find in most major markets. However, white anchovies also come conveniently packed in a tin. Still, like all things seafood you have be careful where your fish are sourced. My white anchovies were a gift from Wild Planet. In terms of sustainable seafood Wild Planet is a company that really walks the walk. Or should I say swims the swim? This dedication to quality and ecology is practiced across their extensive line of products. If you’re one of those thoughtful folks who nervously eyes most canned tuna wondering just what the heck is inside and where the hell it came from, then Wild Planet’s albacore tuna will change your life.

Wild Planet is committed to providing the finest tasting sustainably caught seafood while supporting the conservation of wild marine ecosystems.

  • Pole and troll tuna fishing is rated as the best catch method for tuna by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, Blue Ocean Institute, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Greenpeace and other industry experts.
  • Wild Planet sources tuna ONLY from pole and troll catch fisheries (which are good).
  • They do not source ANY fish from long-line or purse seine fisheries (which are bad).
  • They’ve been practicing these earth friendly policies SINCE way back in 2004 (which is very good).


White Anchovies with Dates and CapersWild Planet White Anchovies with Dates and Capers

White Anchovies with Dates and Capers 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Source Adapted from Chris CostentinoPublished
White anchovies with dates and capers on toast


  • 16 Medjool dates (halved and pitted)
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts
  • ½ cup loosely packed whole mint leaves (about ½ ounce)
  • 2 tablespoon capers (well rinsed)
  • 4–5 ounce white anchovy fillets and their liquid (can substitute tinned sardines)
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • toasted baguette slices (optional)


Measure and prep all the ingredients before beginning. The cooking time is very quick.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sloped sided skillet or frying pan set over high heat. Once it gets quite hot add the dates. Let them sit and sizzle until they blister on one side, about 1 minute. Then toss the pan to flip the dates and add the pine nuts and mint. As soon as the pine nuts begin to color and the mint crisps toss the pan once more and add the capers, anchovies and a pinch of salt. Toss the pan to mix the ingredients and let it sit on the heat until the anchovies are warmed through, about 30 seconds.

Pour the mixture onto a large serving plate and serve it bruschetta style with toasted baguette slices and more olive oil for drizzling (optional). It may also be served on top of mild greens such as baby kale or spinach if you prefer a salad presentation. Use the pan juices and a bit of olive oil as dressing.