“Gavros” (anchovies) is one of the relatively cheap fish and that is why in Greece it is called “the fish of the poor”.
Fish like anchovies, sardines etc., also known as “foam fish” are a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory effects as well as their ability to lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. They are not only good when it comes to heart health, but also for our kidneys, the digestive system and help in treating depression and other brain disorders.
I have been cooking anchovies for decades which are around 10 – 12 cm / 4 – 5 inches maximum. I was really surprised to see for the first time in Nafplion farmers’ market, anchovies which were so huge, around 15 – 18 cm / 6 – 7 inches but was really very curious to try them.
I asked the fish monger how they can be prepared and they told me just like any other recipe using anchovies, that is baked, fried, plaki or marinated.
Instead of doing one of the classic recipes, I created my own by stuffing them. They tasted delicious! The only flaw, if it can be called a flaw, was that their bones were much bigger than usual and had to be removed before eating them.
Did you know that there are 144 species of anchovies? I didn’t know this until today when I saw that abroad they scale anchovies and google searched it. The Mediterranean anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus) do not have any scales so there is no need to scale the fish but depending on what kind you will be cooking, you may need to scale yours.
Gavros Gemistos (Stuffed Anchovies), recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 30 minutes
1 kilo / 2.2 lbs anchovies
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 small ripe tomatoes, cubed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp oregano
- Put all the vegetables in a bowl and mix in 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil as well as the lemon juice.
- Wash the anchovies and cut the head pulling out the guts.
- Cut alongside the belly and remove the backbone.
- Wash again under running water and drain.
- Place them in a baking tin, cavity on top and distribute filling in the cavity.
- Gently turn them on their side and drizzle the remaining olive oil on top.
Preheat oven to 180oC / 350o F fan forced. Bake for 15 minutes and gently turn them on the other side and bake for 15 more minutes.
Serve with a salad.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,