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  • Diane Lawton

how to make finger lickin fried sardines or Boquerones fritos

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

fried baby sardines

Boquerones Fritos made at home

Boquerones fritos (fried anchovies) are one of my favourite tapas in the whole of Spain. A tapas portion would cost anything between €3-8 depending on the restaurant, bar, location and serving size. They are also served as a media racion (a bigger dish for 2 to share), or as a racion ( a large dish that might serve 4).

I usually only eat them if I dine out, as a rare treat, with a mixed tapas meal to share, rather than make them at home. It’s a moot point in Spain whether some people call them sardines or anchovies. The menu might also list them as Sardines fritas.

However, they are so easy to prepare I thought I would share the recipe, as it is going in my book ‘Finger Lickin Food in Minutes’.

Grade: Easy. 10 minutes. Serves 4 as a tapas portion

Taste Test: Crispy, salty, fishy, food heaven


1Ib or 1/2 kilo of anchovies

1 cup white flour


Olive oil (for frying)

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Small anchovies need little preparation

The smaller the anchovies the better, as no need to prepare anything other than rinse and dry on kitchen paper, roll in flour and fry. When cooked, eat the whole fish, in one mouthful with your fingers. Though I have seen some diners, leave the head and tail behind on the plate.

The larger anchovies however, your fishmonger could prepare them for you. Alternatively you can buy them ready prepared and frozen.

  1. My DIY version, is to prepare for a messy moment. Take a pair of kitchen scissors and cut off the heads and tails. Remove innards by running your thumb along the belly and pulling them out. Rinse the anchovies and pat dry and set aside. Wash hands. Done.

  2. Spread the flour onto a large dinner plate and mix in approximately 2 teaspoons of salt with your fingers. Roll the anchovies individually in the flour, coating them on all sides and set aside.

  3. Pour the olive oil into a medium size frying pan. It should be at least 1/2-inch deep. Heat the oil over medium heat.

  4. Place each anchovy into the hot oil. Fry until golden, cooking on both sides. Do not allow the oil to smoke. Depending on the size of the anchovies, 1 minute on each side is sufficient. Maybe 2 minutes for the larger versions.

  5. Remove the anchovies from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Allow to cool slightly. Taste for seasoning and add a sprinkle of salt if necessary. If there are any left after several tastings, serve to your guests!

  6. Squeeze lemon juice just before eating. Otherwise the juice will make all the effort of creating a crispy morsel, a useless soggy version. Some people dip them in garlic mayonnaise. Whatever, they will be gone in minutes, so make plenty.

Health Tab

There are 250 calories in a 100g serving of fried sardines aka Boquerones Fritos. There are plenty of Omega-3’s and calcium (if you eat the bones) in sardines. It helps to prevent chronic low-grade inflammation and may benefit numerous chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, and heart problems.

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