Potted Anchovies

“If you’re lucky enough to find fresh anchovies, here’s a simple way to prepare them so they’ll keep for a few weeks.” – Seamus Mullen, author of Hero Food


  • 1 pound salt
  • 1 pound sugar
  • 5 pounds fresh anchovies, cleaned and butterflied
  • 4 cups good olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon guindilla peppers
  • Peel of 2 lemons, cut with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 branches fresh thyme or oregano
  • 2 bay leaves


Mix the salt and sugar together. Spread a thin layer in the bottom of a baking dish. Layer the butterflied anchovies neatly on the salt/sugar mixture, skin side up, covering them with additional mixture as you go. Once you’ve managed to prepare them all, take a deep breath, have a glass of wine, and get ready to witness the magical transformative power of salt!

Cover the anchovies and refrigerate for 4 days. Sterilize 8 canning jars by boiling for 1 minute, then set aside to cool.

Remove the anchovies from the salt/sugar mixture and rinse carefully under cold running water. It’s very important that the water be cold, as bacteria can’t multiply in cold water and the flesh of the fish will also stay much firmer.

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, pepper, lemon peel, herbs, and bay leaves. Layer the anchovies into the jars as carefully as possible, top each jar with the oil mixture, and evenly distribute the herbs and garlic.

Seal the jars, refrigerate and enjoy. They’ll keep a month or more in the refrigerator.

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