There’s a number of varieties of boquerones around the Mediterranean. In Greece they pickle them in red wine vinegar, in Spain in sherry- or white wine vinegar and in France you can find them in lemon justice and olive oil. And everyone has their own way of adding flavor with different kinds of spices and herbs.
But they all have in common that they are made from small white fish and are really tasty and almost addictive. Especially if they’re eaten on a grilled piece of sourdough bread with a glass of chilled wine in the sun. Wonderful!
A few days ago it looked like the winter finally was over and spring had come to Stockholm. I longed - more than ever - for my boquerones and I went to my local fish store to pick up a batch of small herrings. Time to pickle!
Today they’re ready to eat, but the weather has turned and it’s now snowing again.
But NOTHING will stop me from trying them today!
Since it’s hard to find fresh anchovies in Sweden, I’ve used small herrings. make sure you find really small, fresh and good looking fish and this will be ready in no time at all. Besides, herring is really cheap in Sweden so make sure you buy a big batch. Otherwise you’ll soon be sorry you didn’t because you will finish them VERY quickly.
This is how you make them:
- Remove the flesh from the skin, so you’ll have two fillets from each fish. Put the fillets in a jar, tight but not crowded.
- Sprinkle generously with salt between the fillets and cover them with the vinegar. Let the fish rest in a covered jag in the fridge for 1-3 days. The longer you let them rest, the more you’ll be able to taste the acidity from the vinegar. I like mine the 3 days-style. After the resting time the fillets should be white and firm since the proteins have coagulated from the acid.
- Discard the vinegar and pack the fillets again in the jar, but this time with sliced garlic and springs of fresh oregano. Put in a few lemon peels as well for extra flavor. Cover with 3/4 parts of olive oil and 1/4 whit wine vinegar. Let the fish rest in the covered jar in the fridge for another day.
- It’s finally time to try your boquerones! Serve them on a grilled piece of sourdough bread and enjoy a nice, chilled wine - or a dry sherry - with it.
NOW… it’s summer!