Anchovies (or Sardines) Marinated with Lemon, Garlic and Fennel

The Greek version of ‘ceviche’, is a traditional island way to enjoy the extra-fresh tasty and cheap fish. 

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1 1/2 pounds fresh anchovies or small sardines
red wine vinegar (as needed)
freshly squeezed lemon juice from 2-3 lemons (as needed)
3 tsps minced garlic (or more, to taste)
1 cup wild fennel fonds, finely chopped, or 1 fennel bulb, finely grated, 2 tablespoons freshly ground fennel seeds
chopped fresh or marinated Jalapenos or peperonchini, to taste (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil (as needed)


  • Place the fish in a non-reactive bowl and sprinkle liberally with vinegar.
  • Let stand 2-3 minutes for anchovies, a bit longer for the sardines. 
  • Pinch the head off, not detaching it completely, and move your finger down the belly detaching the backbone, to discard it together with the intestines. 
  • Snap the backbone at the tail, and the fish will open as a book.
  • Rinse under cold water, and place each anchovy (or sardine) on thick paper towels, to drain completely.
  • Lay the  fish filets in one layer, open side up, on a deep, non-reactive serving platter, preferably square or rectangular, add salt, splash with some lemon juice, sprinkle with garlic, the fennel, and the hot peppers, if using.
  • Top with another layer of sardines, open side down, add salt, splash with lemon juice, sprinkle with garlic and the fennel, and continue with the rest of the filets.
  • Pour olive oil over the anchovies or sardines to cover completely, and press the fish, so that the oil penetrates all layers.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 3-5 hours, and up to 6-7 days. The oil with solidify.
  • Let come to room temperature for a few minutes, before serving.



Try the recipe only if you have very fresh anchovies or sardines.
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