A boquerón is a little white anchovy that didn’t get salt cured. Yet this little fish can cure your any need for an elegant, and full of flavor appetizer. Another big plus, it can be served in a variety of ways. I love this tiny fish, and I think you will too. Even people who don’t traditionally like anchovies like them because they are so completely different. They aren’t salty, and don't have that dried intense flavor of the sea. These are much more subtle with a vinegar flavor note (if you serve as they come). Although these delicate delights are becoming more popular, you might not find them in your local market. However, speciality stores such as Despaña have them readily available both in store and can ship them as well. These happen to be one of their best sellers.
Now, I do admit that I love regular anchovies, so you make think I am biased. But even if you aren't an anchovy lover, these are a must try because these babies are not anything like salt cured anchovies. Toss those old notations out and dive in head first.
First off, a boquerón is a fresh anchovy that gets a salt water bath then a vinegar bath for several hours which helps to give them their crisp white color. The most common and traditional way of serving these is with crushed garlic, chopped parsley and olive oil, as shown above. I love them served swimming on a stream of fruity olive oil. However, one of my favorite ways of presenting them is on a skewer. It creates an elegant appetizer and one that is incredibly cocktail party friendly. Grab, bite and go. I first came to know this method when we prepared them for a big event that Despaña hosted. Shortly after that I added them to Despaña’s After Hours Catering Menu. They are always a huge hit, whether at my home or at a catered event, these fish go flying off the plate.
The skewered version is easily made by using a vegetable peeler to create super thin slices of cucumber. I use either an English or Persian cuc. Simply fold the cucumber in a ribbon style and poke the skewer through. Do the same with the boquerón and then finish with an olive. What I adore about this version is that the vinegar flavor profile is highlighted by the olive and cucumber which keeps this app crisp and refreshing.
There are so many ways to serve these. Just fish around your creative mind and express your own artistic style. Below are a couple of other versions that I have used for delight my guests. One, keeping the vinegar flavor. The other adding the garlic, parsley and oil. In either style, it allows your guests to take a little of this and a little of that.
Or you can take your cue from Spanish tradition, serving it as an individual tapa: atop a slice of bread and tomato.
Any way you let these fish swim, they are sure to be a crowd pleaser.