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Acciughe Ripiene

Ligurian anchovies have achieved legendary status due to their exceptional flavor and quality. Harvested from the pristine waters of the Ligurian Sea, these anchovies are known for their tender texture and a distinct, rich taste that sets them apart. If you do like anchovies, then you will love the Ligurian anchovies, and if you don't like them… you will love them even more!


Fried, stuffed, stewed, marinated, baked, cured, or boiled, one could easily write an entire cookbook dedicated to Ligurian anchovy recipes. There is no other fish more emblematic of this region's cuisine. Small, cheap, and nutritious, there is nothing not to love about the tiny silver fish, and I'm not referring to that sad, salty, brown paste you find in typical Caesar salads.

Buy whole anchovies fresh and follow the instructions below to clean them before using the fresh fillets in the recipe of your choice.

After many experiments, I've discovered the easiest way to clean anchovies is by hand; you don't even need a knife. First, prepare a clean cutting board where you will lay out the fillets. I recommend using food-safe gloves for cleaning, otherwise, your hands will smell like anchovies for days.) Pinch the head of one anchovy between your thumb and forefinger and twist it away from the body. The head will easily detach, bringing most of the innards with it. Discard the head and guts. Slide the tip of your thumb along the fish's belly, carefully opening it; rinse out remaining innards. Gently pull out the central spine, starting from the side closest to the head of the fish, and flatten the fillet into a butterfly. Rinse the butterfly fillet and place on the prepared cutting board. Repeat with remaining fish. Fillets are now ready to marinate (recipe on page 46), stuff , or fry 

Acciughe Ripiene // Stuffed Anchovies

In our family, Zia Marghe is considered the queen of anchovies. I have a vivid memory of her and her husband, Zio Michi, bringing home an entire, twenty-pound case of the fresh fish, which they proceeded to clean in one sitting with admirable speed and dexterity. They carefully preserved most of the fish under salt in large buckets, to be enjoyed for the entire year to come. The fresh fillets that didn't end up under salt were stuffed with a flavorful mix of herbs, diced anchovies, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and transformed into these sophisticated little silver "sandwiches," perfect as an elegant appetizer or eye-catching main course.


5 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed

1 cup milk

46 whole, fresh anchovies (about 2 pounds)

2 tablespoons finely grated

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork

2 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon finely chopped marjoram

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs, plus more as necessary

Extra-virgin olive oil

Lemon wedges, for serving

Serves 6

(makes 18 canapés, 3 per serving)



Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the bread in a shallow dish and add the milk; set aside.

Clean the anchovies, keeping the tail intact and opening them like a book (see instructions on page 104); rinse and pat dry. Dice 10 of the anchovies (discarding tails) and place them in a large bowl. Remove bread from milk, squeeze to release excess liquid, and break into small pieces; add to the bowl with chopped anchovies. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano, eggs, parsley, marjoram, garlic, a generous pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper, and mix thoroughly. The mixture should be thick enough to keep its shape, but not stiff or dry; if it feels too wet, add a tablespoon or two of breadcrumbs.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil.

Lay one butterflied anchovy flat on a clean work surface, skin side down, spoon 1½ to 2 teaspoons of filling on top of the fish, spreading to cover the entire fillet. Cover with another butterflied anchovy, skin side up, creating a little sandwich. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the anchovies and filling. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs.

Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.


Recipe from  “Liguria” The Cookbook" Recipes from the Italian Riviera  ~ by Laurel Evans 

Related Properties: Plinius N° 042 and Plinius 049

Mila Groen