Le anchovies in cake tin are a plate of fish typical of the campanian cuisine, a dish light, economic and very tasty. Tramand from a classic recipe of old Neapolitan fishermen, this dish is preparedara in the 'turtiera', i.e. in the cake tin, the classic pan generally used for cakes. Like every traditional recipe there are several versions with small variations. Each family has its own special recipe: some add a pinch of cheese or cherry tomatoes, some replace vinegar with lemon and others replace parsley with oregano. Among the anchovies recipes this one is particularly interesting not only for its ease of preparation, but also for its versatility in food and wine pairings.

Anchovies in cake tins: traditions

The anchovy pie is a fish dish, famous for its simplicity of preparation and poverty of ingredients. Each region has its own particular recipe, and the addition of even small variations give the dish the typical local characteristics and culinary traditions. It can be eaten hot as soon as it is cooked, but it is also appreciable cold so, although it is almost impossible for it to remain, it can be eaten until the next day.

How to choose anchovies

The first thing to do to prepare this recipe is to go to the fishmonger's to buy anchovies. To check the freshness of the fish it is necessary to check thel colour which shall be silvery brilliant, with the pupil black without reddening e the gills tending at red blood o at rosaceous.

Care must be taken not to confuse anchovies with sardines: the latter are larger (up to 25 cm) and have a red stripe. Anchovies are often marked 'anchovies' on the fish counter: they are the same fish, Engraulis encrasicolus, at a different stage of life that changes their size. Anchovies, which are younger, are smaller in size while anchovies, which are more mature, are larger. From this it is easy to see that anchovies, being at a specific stage of their life, they have a specific seasonality that corresponds to the period between March and August. Conventionally, the difference is dictated by the sexual maturity this fish reaches at one year of age.

The different sizes have also led to different processing: while anchovies are preserved in a liquid (oil or marinade), anchovies are preserved in salt.

How to clean anchovies

Cleaning anchovies is much easier than you think. There are only three steps and they are very quick:

Step 1. Grasp the head of the anchovy with the fingertips of your fingers at the height of gills and pull it outwards by exerting a light pressure. This operation will eliminate also theentrails.
How to clean anchovies

Step 2. Glide your thumb along the fishbone to open the anchovies like a book.

How to clean anchovies

Step 3. Then peel off the fishbone down to the tail. Rinse the alice under water current and put it at a tray with of paper absorbent at mode such from dry it.

How to clean anchovies

Anchovies in a cake tin original recipe

In this recipe, anchovies that have been opened and skinned are used, the seasonings are few and the cooking time fast. The dish will be ready in no time for be brought at table e enjoyed in all the his goodness.


40 minutes

25 minutes




Ingredients for 2 persons

  • 300 g fresh anchovies
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • fresh parsley to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil q.b.
  • fine salt to taste
  • white wine vinegar or lemon juice q.b.


  • 1 cake tin 26 or 28 cm in diameter
  • 1 cutting board for cleaning anchovies
  • 1 cutting board for vegetables
  • 1 knife
  • 1 waste bowl

Anchovies in cake tins original recipe: Procedure

Step 1. Brush a round baking dish or pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Anchovies in a 28 cm cake tin

Step 2. Arrange the open, boneless anchovies in the baking tray, side by side.

Anchovies in a cake tin traditional recipe

Step 3. Wash and chop the parsley. Peel and finely chop the garlic.

Anchovies in cake tin chopped parsley

Step 4. Place a handful of parsley, garlic, breadcrumbs, a pinch of salt and two turns of extra virgin olive oil on top of the anchovies.

Anchovies in cake tin preparation

Step 5. Bake in a well-heated static oven at 180 °C for about 6 minutes in the middle of the oven. After this time, remove the baking tray from the oven and add the wine vinegar. Turn on the grill and raise the temperature to 200 °C by placing the baking tray in the upper part of the oven. Bake and gratinate for a further 6 minutes and serve.

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Advice and conservation

  • You can replace white wine vinegar with the juice of a lemon.

  • Oregano can be used instead of parsley.

  • It is recommended to eat the anchovies in a cake tin immediately, but they can be kept in the fridge for 1 day covered with cling film or closed in an airtight container.

Which wine goes with anchovies in a pie dish?

Anchovies in a cake tin are unctuous, creamy, tasty and very aromatic.

To generalise, when it comes to food and wine pairing, is always very complex, not least because the world of wine is in itself so vast that it is difficult to find unambiguous answers even within the same denomination, not to mention the variations between one winery and another and between one vintage and another. Nonetheless, three main threads can be identified, based on the season.

Case 1: it is summer and you prefer a chilled white wine

If you prefer a white wine, you can choose an aromatic, structured, very smooth and fresh wine such as a Gewürztraminer Alto Adige DOC, even a slightly older one.

Case 2: it is spring/autumn and you prefer a fresh rosé wine

If you prefer a rosé wine, you can choose a perfumed wine with good acidity, a soft, even slightly sugary taste and a discrete structure such as a Salento Primitivo IGT rosé.

Case 3: it is winter and you prefer red wine (served at the right temperature)

If you prefer a red wine, you can choose a young wine with good acidity, little or already polished tannin and a decent structure such as a Barbera d'Asti DOCG.

[Taken from the book "Sommelier: the illustrated manual" p. 469]

Chiara Bassi

Writer, sommelier & gastronome

Anchovies in cake tins: at least 2 good reasons to try them

Why eat anchovies and, above all, why prepare anchovies in a cake tin? Anchovies are a nutritious food and offer numerous health benefits. Thanks to the abundance of omega-3, they help heart function, lower bad cholesterol and improve cognitive functions including memory and mood. They are also rich in high-quality proteins that are essential for tissue growth and repair, hormone production and maintaining a healthy immune system. Anchovies contain B vitamins, especially vitamin B12, and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. By including this oily fish in your diet and preparing delicious dishes such as anchovies in a pie tin, you can reap all these health benefits. Their healthy function, however, is only the first reason to try cooking anchovies in a pie tin!

Each bite offers the chance to savour a combination of different textures that come together harmoniously: the golden crunchiness of the crust, the softness of the anchovy fillets and the explosion of aromas from the fresh herbs. Now all that remains is to be tempted by their simplicity combined with their inviting presentation that will win over even the most demanding sommelier or gourmet!

Anchovies in a cake tin original recipe