Known locally as «pan do ma» – the bread of the sea – they are caught using the «lampara» (fishing light) and a surrounding net, then painstakingly prepared by hand to preserve all the flavor of fresh fish.
Recipe of the salted anchovies of Monterosso
Anchovies are salted between May (when they contain no fat in their bodies) and July when they reach their maximum size.
A glass container (arbanella) is required to prepare them, along with a glass or slate disc to act as a lid and a stone to keep it in place. Last but not least, rock salt: 1kg of it for every 2kg of anchovies.
The process starts by covering the bottom of the container with rock salt, then the anchovies are lined inside its head to tail and covered again with salt. This is repeated until the container is filled up to an inch under the rim; the remaining space is again filled with salt.
Not unlike the procedure to prepare lasagne…
Once the container is full lit is placed inside of a basin to collect the excess brine, then it’s closed with the slate disc and held in place with the stone.
All you need to do now is wait (around two months) while checking on the brine every once in a while to ensure that the salt does not dry out. After this period, the container can be closed with a proper lid but still leaves the stone on top.
Once ready, the salted anchovies of Monterosso can last up to two years.
How to eat salted anchovies
When you feel like treating yourself with some, open the jar, take them out (ensure to have dry hands, close the lid immediately to avoid air and moisture getting in), and then rinse them thoroughly and de-bone them.
They can be eaten in various fashions, but we recommend the easiest and tastiest way: toasted bread, butter, salted anchovies topped with olive oil, and a pinch of oregano. Delicious!
They also taste great when seasoned with parsley, dipped in batter and fried.
Salted anchovies of Monterosso, the festival
Like every year, let’s celebrate the Salted Anchovies of Monterosso!
On Saturday, September 21st, the village of Monterosso will host a great festival to honor the local tradition: the salted anchovies.
Starting at noon, the tasting will begin in square Cavour. This is your chance to try the famous salted anchovies of Monterosso, along with some excellent Cinque Terre wine.
For more information on the Salted Anchovies Festival of Monterosso, you can get in touch with the local tourism board: Pro Loco di Monterosso – Tel. +39 0187 817506