While best known as a pizza topping and ingredient in Caesar salad dressing, anchovies actually make a delicious stand-alone dish when fried up crispy. Their aggressive flavor mellows out, becoming nutty and savory with a pleasing crunch. Follow this guide to prep and fry fresh anchovies as an appetizer or snack.

1. How To Prepare Fresh Anchovies?

First, rinse the fish carefully under cold running water to remove any scales, guts or debris. Use fingers to gently rub off scales if needed.

Snip off the heads just behind the gills using kitchen shears. Next, slit open along the belly and remove internal organs and innards by hand. Rinse out the cavity thoroughly.

Lastly, rinse each fish again and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels before cooking.

2. Crispy Fried Anchovies Recipe


  • 1 pound fresh anchovy fish, cleaned and prepared
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


In a shallow dish, combine the all-purpose flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well to evenly distribute the seasonings.

Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a deep skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. You will need enough oil to submerge the anchovies during frying.

While the oil heats up, coat each anchovy in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Ensure that each anchovy is well coated with the seasoned flour.

Once the oil is hot, carefully place the coated anchovies into the oil, being cautious to avoid overcrowding the pan. Fry the anchovies in batches if necessary.

Fry the anchovies for about 2-3 minutes per side or until they turn golden brown and crispy. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to flip them halfway through the cooking process.

Once fried, remove the anchovies from the oil and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.

Serve the fried anchovies with lemon wedges for squeezing over the top. Sprinkle them with chopped parsley for added freshness and garnish.

3. What To Eat With Fried Anchovies?

Lemon and Dipping Sauce: Serve the fried anchovies with lemon wedges for squeezing over the top. The tanginess of the lemon complements the savory flavor of the anchovies. You can also provide a dipping sauce like tartar sauce, aioli, or a simple marinara sauce for added flavor.

Salad: Add fried anchovies to a green salad for an extra burst of flavor and crunch. They work particularly well with Mediterranean-style salads, such as a Greek salad or a salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and feta cheese.

Pasta: Toss the fried anchovies with cooked pasta, garlic, olive oil, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. The anchovies will melt into the sauce, adding a rich umami taste to the dish. You can also add some fresh herbs like parsley or basil for added freshness.

Pizza: Use fried anchovies as a topping for homemade or store-bought pizza. They pair well with ingredients like tomatoes, olives, capers, and mozzarella cheese. Add them to the pizza before baking to allow them to get crispy and enhance the overall flavor.

Tapas or Antipasto Platter: Include fried anchovies as part of a tapas or antipasto platter. Serve them alongside olives, marinated vegetables, cured meats, cheeses, and bread. This combination makes for a flavorful and satisfying appetizer or light meal.

Sandwiches or Wraps: Add fried anchovies to sandwiches or wraps for an extra burst of flavor. They work well in combination with ingredients like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a spread like mayonnaise or pesto.

Now you can unleash the full potential of fresh anchovies with a simple flour and pan fry technique. Enjoy these crispy, flavorful fish as an appetizer, salad topping, taco filling or over pasta.

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julia jane

Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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