How to clean off scales from anchovies?

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ILYA

Guest
#1
I already asked that question on another website and didn't got an answer.
The Pacific (Northern or Californian) anchovy has a lot of large scales which not very tasty... .
Cleaning them one by one with knife is boring task.
There is an easy way to rid scales before filleting?
Thanks
 
#2
I've heard people say to spray them in a bucket with a garden hose with one of those adjustable metal garden nozzles, while mixing and massaging the scales off with the other hand. Don't let them dry when you first catch them.
 
I

ILYA

Guest
#3
Thank you, mav! I'll try. I've heard that some people using big nets from oranges or onion.
Put fish inside and shaking in the water. I've tried without big success - a lot of scales still remans on the fish.
 

Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#4
A good question for which I do not have a good answer. However, I agree that one of the keys would be to get the scales off as quickly as possible. All who have handled live anchovies know how hard it can be to not get scales on one's hands. Once they're dead it's another story.
 
#5
Hi,
I'm a big lover of anchovies. As such I would suggest two solutions:
1.- My favorite solution. I just use my hands to remove the biggest and easiest scales under running water. Some scales will always still be there, but they do not actually bother me at all. In particular, they are barely noticeable when you deep fry anchovies whole (except the head and guts, but leaving the bones and fins). I suggest you put some flour on them first, to make them crunchier and to improve presentation. I find kind of surprising to hear of big scales on anchovies, that are overall very small fish. I'm sure you know what you are talking about, but just in case, I wonder if you are not talking about sardines, that look similar, are bigger and can definitively have quite big scales.
2.- If you want to take the extra time, buy and use a tool to descale fish. In my experience, fish descalers are great for bigger, more sturdy fish, (rock fish) but tend to destroy small anchovies. Maybe you can try something softer on them, like a metallic grinder (see image).
 

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I

ILYA

Guest
#6
I already asked that question on another website and didn't got an answer.
The Pacific (Northern or Californian) anchovy has a lot of large scales which not very tasty... .
Cleaning them one by one with knife is boring task.
There is an easy way to rid scales before filleting?
Thanks
Long time ago, when on the fisherman pier was fresh water, people placed anchovy in the concrete sink, open water and rubbed anchovies around concrete. It has helped somehow...
Would like to share my mother recipe from mine childhood (bitochki):
Clean anchovy, open them like butterfly, extract vertebras, mix them with egg, flour, salt and pepper.
Put on the hot skillet by spoon puddles of mixture, through several seconds turn around... Enjoy! But watch yours fingers - don't bite them out!
 
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