Gavros (anchovies) is one of the relatively cheap fish and that is why it is called “fish of the poor”.
During the season it is fished in abundance it ranges around 4 – 5 Euros a kilo and when the catch is not good, around the period when there is full moon, it reaches maximum 10 Euros a kilo.
However, we are very grateful it is still cheap as it is delicious and can be cooked in many ways.
Fish like anchovies, sardines etc., also known as “foam fish” are a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are not only good for our heart, kidneys, and digestive system, but also to help in treating depression and other brain disorders. With the sudden economic crisis, the only thing you hear people talking about is how they have been affected by the measures taken and how they cannot cope any more. Everyone is feeling depressed and suicide rates have risen tremendously. This is why we should eat fatty fish at least twice a week.
Cooking this dish with extra virgin olive oil (rich source of monosaturated fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin E and many more properties), tomatoes (lycopene, potassium etc), garlic (allicin), red onions (flavonoids, quersetin as well as allicin), parsley (Vitamins K and C) makes this dish perfect for your heart, mood, health and don’t forget your pocket.
When making this dish, I prefer to fillet the anchovies. This is time consuming and labour intense but you can always add the fish whole, only removing the head and guts. When gavros is not too big you can also eat it with the backbone if you like. In this case finely cut all the vegetables and mix.
In order to clean and fillet the fish, just pull the head and the guts will also be removed. Then with a sharp knife score the belly and separate both pieces. Take the backbone from the top and pull it gently, moving towards the tail. Cut the tail with a knife.
Update 3rd March 2017
When making this dish again today, I decided to make it a bit different by not filetting the anchovies and sauteing the onions and garlic. I had only one ripe tomato home so the other was substituted with some tomato paste.
We loved the outcome and this is how I will be doing it from now on.
Gavros Plaki sto Fourno (Baked Anchovies)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
- 1 kilo fresh anchovies
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 medium red onions, cut into thin slices
- 1 to 2 cloves, garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 large ripe tomato, cut into thin slices
- Cut the head pulling out the guts. Then wash and let it drain.
- Heat half of the olive oil and saute the onion until almost beginning to brown.
- Add the garlic and mix until fragrant, for a few seconds.
- Add the tomato paste as well as water, mix and cook for five minutes.
- Put the anchovies in a Pyrex and season with salt, pepper, oregano and thyme. Add the parsley and mix.
- Pour the sauce on top, coating the fish evenly.
- Cut the tomato in the middle and then finely chop it into thin slices.
- Add a layer of tomatoes on top and season it with salt, pepper and oregano.
- Finally add the remaining olive oil on top of the anchovies.
- Bake in a preheated oven to 180o C for 45 minutes, without mixing and without adding any water.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,