Anchovies in oil: a 100% artisan elaboration
I’m sure you’ve asked yourself on more than one occasion how the Basque Cantabrian Anchovy will be made, haven’t you? Well, it is a long and very laborious work in which each of the phases is essential to achieve that the final product is of maximum quality.
What is the production process?
The first step is fishing and selecting the anchovy. This product is caught in spring, specifically in April and May when the anchovy is already a good size.
In the second step, the head is removed and the fish is salted. Once the product has arrived at the factories, the head and guts are removed from the product to leave it clean. This step is done by hand by the workers of the company and then the antxoas are introduced in barrels with salt to dehydrate the antxoa slowly. This process is known as salting and lasts a minimum of six months.
The third step is the removal of the skin and salt. To obtain a quality anchovy it is very important that this point is done by hand cleaning the anchovies one by one to avoid spoiling the product.
The next step consists of introducing the anchovy into three different water barrels to eliminate any remaining salt. Then, they are introduced in specific machines that extract the water that the anchovies may have.
The fifth step is none other than cleaning. The filleting machines are responsible for cutting the tail, removing the spine of the anchovy, removing any bones it may have and separating its fillets. It is a very complex job that requires some experience so as not to spoil the product.
And finally, the packaging and labelling. This is when the antxoas are prepared for consumption. They are put in oil and labelled with the production and expiry date, which is usually around 8 months.