Small Bite, Big Taste

With the Slow Fish event coming up in Genoa, Slow Food invites you to take part in a recipe contest that puts the anchovy – the little fish with a big taste – at centre stage. We are looking for ‘small bite’ recipes, a dish which can be served as a finger-food snack or appetizer. The recipe may come from any cuisine, traditional or modern roots and from home or professional kitchens, perhaps with a story to go along with it. Use as many or as few ingredients as you like in your hot or cold dish: from the classic bread butter and salted anchovy to a fresh anchovy roll with raspberries on a toothpick… the sea is the limit!

Send us your entry by April 1 and our panel of cooks, fishers and marine biologists will select a shortlist of recipes which will be served in the Bistrot area at the Slow Fish event, May 9-12. The winner will be chosen during the event and receive a 1kg can of Peruvian anchovies (where possible), as well as the poster of the “Eat Anchoveta” campaign by the Cayetano Heredia University. This campaign is slowly turning the tide in Peru by encouraging people to eat anchovies as a more sustainable choice and to end overfishing of anchovies for animal feed.

The anchovy has played a role in many food cultures, ancient and modern, and in both inland and coastal areas. From the Roman Empire to urban Japan, from the first civilization of the southern Andes to the Guatemalan altiplanos, to West Africa, anchovies have been eaten raw, dried, salted, smoked, fermented and more. This versatility has allowed for endless variations in the kitchen, including byproducts such as Italian colatura (the liquid obtained from the salting process) or fermented Asian fish sauces.

At the lower end of the marine food chain, anchovies, along with other small fish, are vital to feeding the species above them. They are also a sustainable option for human consumption: abundant, quick to reproduce and short lived. Yet, recent fishing practices are putting some stocks in danger. The most salient example is that of the Peruvian anchoveta, which is the biggest biomass fished in the world. Making up 8% of the world’s catch, anchoveta are sold at the abnormally low price of US$150 a ton and transformed into animal feed!

This little fish helps us understand the absurdities of our broken food system. In an era when sustainable fishing and fish stocks are a major concern, why are we dedicating 40% of all fish catches to feed other animals (Source: FAO) that produce less healthy food, in an industry that’s to blame for environmental damage and a major carbon footprint?
Let’s bring the anchovy back to our plates!

Send your entries to [email protected] by April 1.
Entrants please ensure that you include:
– A name for your recipe
– A full list of ingredients with measures for 10 people (based on one ‘bite-sized’ portion each).
– Recipe instructions in clear steps, including any cooking temperatures and times.
– The source of the anchovy you use (where it was fished) if possible
– A story about your recipe/anchovy and its connection to your region if you wish.

Find out more about Slow Fish, Slow Food’s campaign for sustainable fishing at

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