Something Fishy with Simon Rhodes from Lobsterpot Fishmongers, Wood Street Food Hall

THIS little oily silver and blue fish is a major food source for most predatory fish in its region.

Often found in temperate waters and in large shoals these littles morsels prefer shallow muddy waters to the deeper colder oceans.

Anchovies are small, green fish with blue reflections due to a silver-coloured longitudinal stripe that runs from the base of the caudal fin. They range from 2cm to 40cm in adult length, and their body shapes are variable with more slender fish in northern populations. The anchovy eats plankton and recently hatched fish.

A traditional method of processing and preserving anchovies is to gut and salt them in brine, allow them to mature, and then pack them in oil or salt. This results in a characteristic strong flavour and the flesh turns deep grey.

Pickled in vinegar, as with Spanish boquerones, anchovies are milder and the flesh retains a white colour.

In Roman times, anchovies were the base for the fermented fish sauce garum.

Garum had a sufficiently long shelf life for long-distance commerce, and was produced in industrial quantities.

Anchovies were also eaten raw as an aphrodisiac.

They are predominantly used in Worcestershire Sauce and Caesar salads. In Italy they are widely used as a topping for pizzas.

Used with roast lamb they dissolve into the meat and add a nice salty flavour to the lamb, which believe it or not is not fishy!

We sell a variety of flavoured and smoked anchovies from the Mediterranean as well as plain anchovies in oil.

Why not try using them as an accompaniment to some white fillets such as cod, hake or even monkfish?