What are boquerones?
Boquerones (pronounced “bo-keh-ro-nez”) is a Spanish tapas dish consisting of raw anchovies marinated in vinegar. The fish should be fresh, locally caught and filleted. Boquerones are also called white anchovies, referring to the colour of the flesh.
Boquerones are eaten throughout Spain, but the dish originates from Andalusia, in the south of the country. Here, swimming off the coast of the city of Malaga in the Rincon de la Victoria Bay, the tastiest anchovies are caught, appropriately called Victoriano anchovies by the Spaniards. The anchovy is, therefore, a symbol of the city of Malaga and the football players of the local team are affectionately called boquerones (anchovies).
Did you know...
There are 144 types of anchovies. The species used to make boquerones is the European anchovy, Engraulis encrasicolus.
How to make boquerones
First, the fish are cleaned individually, a precise and fiddly job given their size. The fish are then marinated in vinegar – white wine vinegar or, more suitably, sherry vinegar – for several hours or a night. The exact time depends on the chef or the family preparing the dish. Marinating in acid makes the flesh of the fish white in colour.
The vinegar is drained and the fish are ready to serve, with some salt, olive oil, parsley and slices of raw garlic.
Sometimes the fish are marinated not only in vinegar but in a mixture of vinegar and oil. Sometimes the garlic is added during marinating, sometimes only when it is served. As you can see, even with a limited number of ingredients there are many variations.
How to eat
Boquerones are eaten with a slice of white bread, preferably with a crispy crust.
Delicious with a glass of vermouth, a Cerveza (beer) or a glass of cold Verdejo. If you have a big appetite, choose a selection of other tapas.