The anchovy is a marine fish smaller than a sardine, not longer than 20 cm (8 inches) with a greenish-blue back and silver sides, related to the herring. The upper jaw protrudes well beyond the lower jaw. They are found in the Atlantic, the Black Sea and in huge quantities in the Mediterranean. They are fished there and in the Bay of Biscay from January to September.
Anchovies are commonly salted and then bottled or tinned. However, in continental Europe, the best ones are obtainable from the grocer, still under salt, and should be rinsed with a little vinegar and served with oil, garlic and oregano. If they are too salty, they can be rinsed with vinegar or soaked in milk for an hour and then strained and patted dry. It is easy to tell if they are fresh: fresh fish are blue-green, darkening to deep blue or black after a while out of the sea.