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Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking
by Pamela Sheldon Johns

Acciughe Fritte (Fried Anchovies)
Maria Aurelia Oriente remembers these delicacies, made by her mother. To make the morsels go further, her mother battered and coated the anchovies twice, fresh anchovies are delicious and full of good nutrition, but if they are unavailable, use salt-cured ones instead. Rinse the anchovies and press one on a sage leaf, smearing it to make it stick, then continue with the batter and fry as indicated below.
Serves 4


    • 1 pound fresh anchovies, butterflied, cleaned, and heads removed (tails intact)
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh marjoram
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • Canola oil for deep-frying
    • 20 to 25 fresh sage leaves
    • 1/2 to 3/4 cup fine dried bread crumbs


Rinse and drain the anchovies.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the marjoram and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the bread crumbs in another bowl.

In a medium saucepan, heat 3 inches of oil to 375°F on a deep-fat thermometer.

Place a sage leaf on each anchovy and dip it in the egg mixture, then the bread crumbs. Press lightly to attach the coating to the anchovies, and dip each again in the egg and crumbs a second time. Add the coated anchovies carefully to the hot oil, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Using a wire skimmer or a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt and serve at once.

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