Fried Anchovies and Sage


Emphatically flavored fish, such as salt-cured anchovies, are traditional antipasti ingredients because their high oil content takes well to frying and marinating; sandwiched between sage leaves and fried, the snacks are rich contrast to brisk Campari cocktails.


  • Whole milk, for soaking

  • 18 best-quality anchovy fillets

  • 36 small to medium, narrow, fresh sage leaves

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons instant flour (such as Wondra)

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying


  1. Put milk into a shallow dish. Add anchovy fillets; soak 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels, and pat dry. Cut fillets to be the same length as the sage leaves. Lay each sage leaf face up on a large cutting board. Place an anchovy fillet on half of the sage leaves; crush with fork tines, being careful not to tear leaves. Sandwich with another leaf, face down. Press with the back of a spoon to seal.

  2. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Put flour into 1 bowl and egg into another. Heat 1/4 inch oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Coat 6 of the anchovy-sage sandwiches with flour, shaking off any excess, then with egg, allowing excess to drip off. Fry, turning once, until golden, 45 seconds to 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining anchovies in batches. Serve immediately.

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