Thursday, 3 June 2010

Marinated anchovies (Γαύρος μαριναρισμένος)

When fish is as fresh as in Greece, you can make some Greek-style sushi - filleted and marinated gavros (anchovies).

marinated gavros anchovy
I didn't have parsley on hand when I was serving my gavraki. The green herb adds a bit of color contrast to this dish.

You need*:
1 kilo very fresh gavros (anchovies)
juice of 1 large lemon
high-quality red wine vinegar
rock salt
olive oil
6 (or more) cloves of garlic, finely chopped
chili flakes
1-2 large red peppers (or 2-3 roasted red peppers), cubed
parsley, finely chopped

Gavros: filleting small fish is not as difficult as it sounds.

Soak the gavros in a little vinegar for 2-3 minutes, then drain and clean the fish by pushing your thumb into the part containing the intestines, and pushing them out towards the head. Discard intestines and head, then open the remaining part of the fish down to the tail. Fillet the fish by carefully removing the bone and tail. Wash the fish in water.

Place the fish in a plastic or glass (not metallic) tub in layers, sprinkling rock salt on each layer. Pout 1 part lemon juice to 5 parts vinegar over the anchovies. Let them soak in the tub, refrigerated, for 5-6 hours. During this time, the anchovies will change color (they will look bleached).

Drain them well, and place them in layers in a glass jar with a glass or plastic lid. In between each layer, sprinkle some of the garlic, red pepper and chili flakes. Pour olive oil into the jar till it fills to the top. The anchovies will keep this way for two months in the fridge.

marinated anchovies gavros
I find it very hard to leave this dish in the fridge for too long - especially when I also have some tsikoudia in the fridge.

When ready to serve the fish, place them in a single layer on a serving dish and sprinkle a little chopped parsley over them. This fish is perfect as a meze (appetiser), served with dakos, cucumber and tomato slices, and accompanied by ouzo, or tsikoudia, if you prefer the Cretan firewater to the classic (Northern) Greek aperitif.

My first attempt at making sushi didn't come out too bad - I intend to try this again with marinated gavros.

And because this fish is tender, spicy and refreshing, without being overly salty or oily, it can also be used successfully as a sushi filling (instead of pre-packed salmon, for instance), with cucumber and avocado. 

*This recipe has been adapted from a recipe printed in the Spring edition of the AB Vasilopoulos supermarket's magazine.

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