Sandwiched: Marinated Anchovy Sandwiches with Tomato-Onion Sauce


The greatest column since sliced bread.


Gone Fishing. [Photograph: María del Mar Sacasa]

"Anchov..." I have seen many a scrunched up nose and gag-reflex pantomime whenever the word is even beginning to be uttered. I am not very particular about my anchovies, loving them oil- or salt-packed, swanky or cheap, even all shriveled up and desiccated on a slice of pizza. But I understand how that tiny fish can be off-putting, unctuous and smelling of some dark forgotten corner of the ocean. Or the fish market.

Enter white marinated anchovies. You'll see them flash their white, silvery plump bellies at Spanish tapas bars and occasionally they're curled up and perched on the side of a cocktail. Were it not for the name, anchovy-haters probably wouldn't even realize these were the same creatures they turn their nose up at.

White anchovies are marinated with vinegar, oil, garlic, and herbs; they're fleshy, tart, sweet, and most importantly, delicate. I had a Portuguese sandwich recently that was packed with house-pickled anchovies and a soft-cooked onion sauce. This recipe takes its inspiration from that: crusty bread is the perfect shell for the briny anchovies and a tart, quickly cooked sauce of fresh plum tomatoes, onions, garlic, and sherry vinegar. Cilantro leaves add a citrusy touch, and a slather of creamy mayonnaise curbs the acidity of the anchovies and tomatoes.