One of the most uncommon, yet surprising, fish eaten around the world is the anchovy. Anchovies are tiny, silvery-green fishes full of flavor and nutrition. Forget all the jokes you’ve heard, these slimy little sea creatures aren’t just pizza toppers. Anchovies have a long and rich history, and have been a favourite food of many cultures around the world for centuries.
Anchovies belong to the family Engraulidae, of which there are more than 140 species. They are usually found in tropical and subtropical waters of the world, but can also inhabit the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. Most anchovy species measure between 3 and 5 inches in length, making them some of the tiniest fish out there. That tiny size is part of what makes them so delicious.
Their flavor is hard to define since every variety of anchovy tastes different, but it’s generally described as salty, fishy, and umami. Anchovy fillets tend to be very rich in flavor, making them an excellent condiment or topping for pizza, toast, and pasta dishes. Anchovies are also an excellent source of protein, calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Mankind has been enjoying anchovies for centuries. Ancient Greeks ate them raw or cooked in stews and other dishes. The Romans also enjoyed anchovies and often used them in sauces. Anchovies have been popular in Spain since the 11th century and are a staple part of the Mediterranean diet thriving in the countries around the Mediterranean sea.
Anchovies can be eaten fresh, raw, or cooked, depending on the variety. For example, fresh anchovies are usually boiled, while canned anchovies are canned in oil and often used as a pizza topping or as a condiment. Boneless anchovy fillets are usually packed in brine or salted and cured with oil. Pressed anchovies are usually brined and air-dried for months at a time, resulting in a dark, richly flavored fish product.
When buying fresh anchovies, look for fish that are silver-green in color and in taut, firm bodies. Anchovies are best when freshly caught, so try to purchase from a trusted seafood purveyor. If buying larger fish, such as canned varieties, make sure that the cans are properly sealed and not corroded.
Anchovies are a delicious and nutritious food that can bring a unique, salty flavor to your dishes. But it is important to be mindful of their delicate flavour and texture. When cooking with anchovies, it is best to start with a smaller amount (such as a few minced anchovy fillets) as too much can make a dish overly salty or fishy tasting. However, when added in just the right amounts, anchovies can boost the flavor of any dish while adding an ample amount of essential nutrients.
All in all, anchovies remain a timeless and excellent flavorful option, especially when eating the traditional Mediterranean diet that has become so popular in recent years. Whether you enjoy them plain or as a topping, these little fish are sure to bring an impressive kick of nutritional value and umami flavor to your plate.
The Journey of an Anchovy from the Sea to Your Dinner Plate
Anchovies are one of the most popular types of fish consumed worldwide, but the journey they take before they’re served on dinner plates is long and complex. This blog post will explain the entire process of bringing an anchovy from the sea to your dinner plate, highlighting the different methods of fisheries, processing, and delivery that are involved.
Fishing for Anchovies
The first step in the journey of an anchovy is fishing. Different types of anchovy fisheries exist, including purse seine, trap and line, and trawling, each of which have their own unique advantages.
Purse Seine Fisheries
Purse seine fisheries are particularly popular for catching large numbers of anchovies. This method consists of a large circular net that significantly restricts the movement of the school, resulting in easy capture. To draw the net around the school, two boats coordinate their actions. The larger boat draws the net, while the smaller boat (known as the tender) applies additional drag and tightens the opening of the seine.
In purse seining, anchovies are usually harvested during the late morning hours when the sun behaves horizontally, so that it does not reflexively shine off the surface of the water. This makes it easier for net vessels to spot the fish and successfully catch them. One of the few drawbacks of purse seine fisheries is that the net size makes it difficult to distinguish juvenile and targeted fish from non-targeted non-commercial species of fish.
Trap and Line Fisheries
Another popular method used to catch anchovies is trap and line fishing. This method consists of gear with multiple hooks, generally weighing between 2.3 kilograms and 4.5 kilograms, attached to a long line which is in turn fitted onto a particular type of trap. The traps used in this type of fishing are often baited with squid or other anchovy-attracting species. This type of gear is designed to allow escape of unwanted species, making it commercially selective.
However, this method has certain environmental impacts, as the bait and traps left in the water can destroy marine habitats, affect other species, and even disrupt the natural biological cycle of anchovies.
The last type of fishing used to capture anchovies is trawling. During trawling, a ship drags a large net weighted to the ocean floor in order to catch fish. This type of fishing is often criticized for its impact on fish populations and its contribution to the accumulation of materials (such as plastic waste) in the ocean.
Processing and Packaging
Once anchovies have been caught, the next step in their journey is processing and packaging. This involves cleaning and filleting the anchovies, removing their bones and skin. The fillets are then washed and transferred to a high-speed machine where they are blanched and cooked. Afterward, they are cooled and dried before being sent through a package-forming machine. Here, the processed anchovies are placed into individual packages and then labeled for sale. The packages are inspected for any signs of contamination before being sealed and packed into larger containers.
Most of the overfishing of anchovies occurs at this stage due to the prevalence of illegal and unregulated fishing practices. As a result, governments have placed strict regulations on the type of fishing nets and gear which fishermen can use as well as the amount of anchovies they can catch per day.
Once the anchovies have been processed and packaged, they are ready for delivery. Delivery is done using refrigerated container ships, which we need to preserve the anchovies’ freshness during their long journey. The container ships transport the anchovies from the most popular fishing spots around the world, such as the Mediterranean and Black Sea, to distribution centers all over the globe.
Once the anchovies reach the distribution centers, they are stored in cold storages until they are ready for distribution and eventually delivered to supermarkets and restaurants. Most retailers purchase the anchovies in bulk, ensuring freshness and a higher profit margin.
Once the anchovies reach the restaurant, they are prepared according to the desired dish. For example, the anchovies may be diced, fried, pickled, or even used as a condiment.
The Final Destination
Finally, the anchovies are ready to be served – as an appetizer, side dish, pizza topping, or condiment. Anchovies offer a range of flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits. They are an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and iron, and are highly popular among seafood lovers.
From the sea to the dinner plate, bringing an anchovy to your plate involves a long and complex process. Different types of fisheries are employed to capture the anchovies, before they are processed and packaged. The anchovies are then delivered to distribution centers and eventually to supermarkets and restaurants, where they are prepared according to the desire dish. No matter how they’re served, anchovies offer a range of flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits that are hard to resist!
|Vitamin A||0.012 mg|
|Vitamin D||0.0017 mg|
|Vitamin D3||0.0017 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.00333 grams|
|Vitamin K||0.0121 mg|
|Vitamin B1||0.08 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.36 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.0199 grams|
|Vitamin B4||0.085 grams|
|Vitamin B5||0.91 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.2 mg|
|Vitamin B9||0.013 mg|
|Vitamin B12||0.88 ug|
Daily Value 1.3 g
Daily Value 0.018 g
Daily Value 0.4 g
Daily Value 1.25 g
Daily Value 4.7 g
Daily Value 2.3 g
Daily Value 0.011 g
Daily Value 0.9 mg
Daily Value 0.0023 g
Daily Value 0.055 mg
|Aspartic Acid||2.958 grams|
|Glutamic Acid||4.312 grams|
|Total Sugars||0 ug||
|Lauric acid (12:0)||0.02 grams||
|Myristic acid (14:0)||0.43 grams||
|Palmitic acid (16:0)||1.33 grams||
|Stearic acid (18:0)||0.42 grams||
|Total Saturated fatty acids:||2.2 g|
|Erucic acid (22:1)||0.16 grams||
|Oleic acid (18:1)||2.94 grams||
|Palmitoleic acid (16:1)||0.59 grams||
|Gadoleic acid (20:1)||0.01 grams||
|Total Monounsaturated fatty acids:||3.7 g|
|Omega-3 Timnodonic acid (20:5)||0.76 grams||
|Omega-3 Clupanodonic acid (22:5)||0.04 grams||
|Linolenic acid (18:3)||0.02 grams||
|Linoleic acid (18:2)||0.36 grams||
|Total Polyunsaturated fatty acids:||1.18 g|
|Total Sterols:||0.09 g|