Recently, I came across a really ingenious tip – frying anchovies in the microwave. I admit I was a little skeptical of this cooking method at first. I mean I like my anchovies really crispy and I was doubtful that the microwave could turn out really crispy anchovies, ones that are comparable to the traditional frying in oil method. Boy, was I wrong! Not only does the microwave turn out extremely crispy anchovies, they are also not greasy at all due to the minute amount of oil used. I also find it easier to achieve the desired level of crispiness without burning the anchovies in the microwave versus frying in oil. In addition, the microwave method seems to keep the fishy odor at minimal level. I personally do not mind the “fragrance” but some people may. Anchovies can be pretty pungent for those who are not familiar with them. This is definitely a great alternative to frying anchovies!
To make the anchovies:
Rinse and drain the anchovies. Put them in a plate and add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil (not much oil is needed to get them crispy), and stir to mix. Microwave on high for 2 minutes the first time, stir and continue to microwave for a minute at a time until the desired crispiness is attained. Cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Personal note: I am used to anchovies that have already been salted. Check the ingredients to see if salt has already been added. If that is the case, do not add any more salt to the cooked anchovies.
Making fried anchovies always reminds me of a hilarious experience I had in my teens (seems like a million years ago). Normally before frying the anchovies, we would rinse the anchovies a couple of times first. One Chinese New Year, I was given the responsibility of making the fried anchovies with roasted peanut treat. Armed with this important task, I remember thinking to myself that I had to make sure I prepared the anchovies perfectly. Somehow, I had gotten it in my head that to make it perfectly, the very first step is to clean them thoroughly. Consequently, I ended up rinsing the anchovies many more times than I would normally have and imagine my shock when I discovered after frying the anchovies that they were no longer salty! I never even knew until that day that it is possible to rinse all the salt off anchovies. There is such a thing as too much cleaning after all. LOL