Anita's Boquerones

Anita’s Boquerones

Serves 2

Source: Anita Quesada, Spain

 These small, crisply-fried fish are favorite tapas along the coast in southern Spain. The normal recipe is simply cleaned fish dipped in flour and fried. However, Anita, our neighbor in Benalmádena, told me the secret of really great boquerones. The lemon and garlic add a delicate flavor that makes these simply irresistible!



Boquerones (small, sardine-like fish) [about 24]














Garlic, minced or pressed





















Oil (for frying)





If you can find really small fish (10 cm or 4” in length, including head and tail) you can simply cut off the head and clean before proceeding to the marinade (no need to remove the bones). 

However, if they are larger than that, they will need to be cleaned and boned: Wash and clean the fish, removing the head, entrails , and bones, but leaving the tail fins on. The fish should still be in one piece but butterflied open. 

Lay the fish flat and open (if butterflied) in a shallow dish, place the garlic on top and squeeze the juice of the lemon over the top.  Sprinkle with salt. Let set for at least one hour, preferably 4 hours or so (“medio dia” says Anita). 

Heat about 1/2” [1 to 1.5 cm] oil in a small frying pan. When hot, dip each fish into flour and shake off the excess. Place flat in the oil and fry until crisp. If you want to be authentic, press the tails of 4 fish together, forming a fan with the fish (see picture, below). Drain well on paper towels. Salt to taste. Serve hot.


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